Tag Archives: groundwater

GOVERNOR SIGNS BILL REQUIRING FURTHER ENVIRONMENTAL REVIEW OF CADIZ WATER PROJECT

If Cadiz Inc. goes forward with its plan to pump 50 billion gallons of water out of the aquifer in the desert east of Twentynine Palms, the process cannot adversely affect the groundwater, habitat, or natural or cultural resources of the state and federal lands. Cadiz Inc. plans to pump water from below the desert and send it to Orange County. Newsom said in a signing statement that the desert’s “fragile ecosystem has existed, in balance, for centuries. Prior to allowing any project to move forward there must be certainty that it will not threaten the important natural and cultural resources.”

Cadiz Inc. photo

The bill will ensure that independent scientific analysis is conducted and reviewed prior to any major water transfer. Cadiz said in a statement that its project is “environmentally sound” and while the company intends to comply with the law’s requirements, it says the law sets a “troubling precedent.”

Governor Gavin Newsom’s signing statement:

Governor Gavin Newsom

“I am signing Senate Bill 307, which requires the State Lands Commission, in consultation with the Department of Fish and Wildlife and the Department of Water Resources, to find that the transfer of the water from a groundwater basin underlying specified desert lands will not adversely affect the natural or cultural resources, including groundwater resources or habitat, of those federal and state lands in order for that transfer to be allowed.

“Water has flowed underneath the Mojave for thousands of years, sustaining the Native Americans, bighorn sheep, the threatened desert tortoise and a variety of other plant and animal life that have made the Mojave Desert their home.

“This fragile ecosystem has existed in balance for centuries. Prior to allowing any project to move forward there must be certainty that it will not threaten the important natural and cultural resources.

“SB 307 will ensure that independent scientific, analysis is conducted and reviewed in a public and transparent process. Such a process will determine if any major water transfer project in the Mojave desert will unreasonably affect the environment and water dependent ecosystem in the surrounding watersheds prior to any project being approved.”

Cadiz CEO Scott Slater made the following statement following Governor Newsom’s action:

“While we believe SB 307 is a troubling precedent for infrastructure development, it will not stop the Cadiz Water Project, a sustainable project designed to safely make available new water for 400,000 people in California.  We stand ready to comply with SB 307, just as we have complied with all of California’s stringent environmental laws.

“We look forward to working closely with the Governor’s office, the State Lands Commission and other State Agencies as we complete this public, and transparent procedural step and we are confident that we will continue to demonstrate that the Project is environmentally sound and a worthy part of the solution to California’s persistent water supply challenges.

“California is home to over a million people who lack access to safe, clean, reliable drinking water. Over the long-term we face a statewide supply-demand imbalance that requires a successful water resiliency strategy, especially if we seek to achieve the State’s objectives of providing water and housing for all. We believe a fact-based evaluation of the Project conducted under the Governor’s watchful eye will undoubtedly conclude we can sustainably contribute to this effort.”

“Importantly, SB 307, which regulates the transfer of groundwater from Cadiz into urban Southern California, does not affect our ongoing efforts to conserve and efficiently use groundwater in our substantial agricultural ventures. SB 307 also does not limit the direct delivery of water or the storage of imported water at Cadiz as evaluated in the Project’s court-approved permits. We will continue to pursue these opportunities concurrently with compliance with SB 307 and the remaining permitting milestones for the Water Project.”

STATE LEGISLATION TO STOP CADIZ PROJECT PASSES, AWAITS GOVERNOR SIGNATURE

Tami Roleff photo

The California Assembly passed legislation Thursday that will require a new and independent environmental review of the proposed Cadiz project that would pump 50 billion gallons of water out of an aquifer in the Mojave Desert east of Twentynine Palms. The law, SB 307, would require groundwater-pumping projects, such as Cadiz, to first obtain an independent environmental review to verify that the project will not adversely impact desert water supplies, wildlife, or the landscape. The review must be completed within 15 to 24 months from the application of the project. And the environmental review must be done by an independent agency that does not benefit from the project. Governor Gavin Newsom has 12 days to either sign the bill or veto it.

Cadiz statement:

“As our Governor has repeatedly emphasized, California continues to suffer from chronic water supply and affordable housing shortages.  These problems are not unrelated.  Solutions to these two critical problems depend on infrastructure improvements that are opposed at every turn.  Bills like SB 307 will make solutions even tougher to achieve. Should the bill be enacted however, Cadiz will embrace fair, open and transparent review of science.  We are abundantly confident the Project is safe and sustainable.”

https://finance.yahoo.com/news/cadiz-inc-statement-passage-senate-201148629.html

National Parks Conservation Association statement:

“By passing SB 307, the California legislature has sent a message to the Trump administration that science matters and will not be ignored when it comes to protecting our national treasures from the reckless Cadiz groundwater mining project,” said David Lamfrom, California Desert and Wildlife Director for the National Parks Conservation Association. “For the first time, Cadiz will be subject to independent scientific review, which will no doubt prove that the numbers previously used by the company just don’t add up. Senator Richard Roth is a desert, national park and water defender for authoring this legislation to ensure that desert groundwater pumping can serve long-term needs of our wild lands, local communities and businesses.”

https://www.npca.org/articles/2223-california-passes-vital-legislation-to-protect-desert-water-parks-wildlife

JUDGE QUESTIONS BLM APPROVAL OF CONTROVERSIAL CADIZ WATER PUMPING PLAN

Cadiz Inc. photo

A federal judge ruled Thursday that the reversal of a policy by the Bureau of Land Management in 2017 to allow Cadiz Inc. to pump 16 billion gallons of water from an aquifer in the Mojave Desert was “arbitrary and capricious.” Under the Obama administration, the BLM said in 2015 that Cadiz could not use a railroad right-of-way for a water pipeline from Cadiz to the California aqueduct without getting federal permission and an environmental review.

In 2017, the BLM under the Trump administration reversed itself and said Cadiz could use the right-of-way and didn’t need the environmental review. Judge George Wu said the BLM failed to explain “why it considered the same facts in 2015 and 2017 but came to opposing conclusions….” He sent the matter back to the BLM for reconsideration. Cadiz said in a statement that it is confident that the “BLM will swiftly prepare an amended letter responsive to the remand and completely compliant with the Court’s direction.”

STUDY CLAIMS CADIZ WATER PROJECT THREATENS NATURAL SPRING IN MOJAVE TRAILS NATIONAL MONUMENT

A new study, funded by the Mojave Desert Land Trust, has found that one of the Mojave Desert’s largest natural springs would be threatened by a
proposed water project that would pump 16 billion gallons of water per year from an underground aquifer. Bonanza Spring is located just 11 miles from Cadiz, Inc., which plans to pump and sell the water to Los Angeles-area water agencies. The study says that Bonanza Spring, located in the Mojave Trails National Monument a few miles north of Route 66, is connected to the Cadiz aquifer, and that pumping out so much water would dry up the spring. Cadiz funded its own study which stated that Bonanza Spring is not connected to its aquifer.

https://www.tandfonline.com/doi/full/10.1080/15275922.2018.1448909

NEW STUDY SAYS CADIZ WATER PLAN WOULD DRAIN DESERT SPRING.

A new study, funded by the Mojave Desert Land Trust, has found that one of the Mojave Desert’s largest natural springs would be threatened by a proposed water project that would pump 16 billion gallons of water per year from an underground aquifer. Bonanza Spring is located just 11 miles from Cadiz, Inc., which plans to pump and sell the water to Los Angeles-area water agencies. The study says that Bonanza Spring, located in the Mojave Trails National Monument, is connected to the Cadiz aquifer, and pumping so much water would dry up the spring. Cadiz funded its own study which stated that Bonanza Spring is not connected to its aquifer. A link to the study can be found with this story at z1077fm.com.

https://www.tandfonline.com/doi/full/10.1080/15275922.2018.1448909