02 Oct Press Release: Cadiz Project Groundwater Withdrawals Approved by San Bernardino County
Action by Board of Supervisors a New Milestone for Project
Los Angeles CA (October 2, 2012) — Cadiz Inc. [NASDAQ: CDZI] (“Cadiz”) reported today that the San Bernardino County Board of Supervisors voted to approve the Groundwater Management, Monitoring, and Mitigation Plan (“GMMMP”) for the Cadiz Valley Water Conservation, Recovery and Storage Project (“Project”). This represents another significant milestone for the Project, which will provide an annual reliable water supply to Southern California communities by capturing and conserving native groundwater currently being lost to evaporation from the aquifer system beneath the Company’s property in eastern San Bernardino County’s Cadiz Valley. The County’s action authorizes the Project to withdraw an average of 50,000 acre-feet of water per year.
The Project’s Environmental Impact Report (“EIR”) was certified on July 31, 2012 by the Santa Margarita Water District (“SMWD”), the Lead Agency of the Project’s California Environmental Quality Act (“CEQA”) environmental review and permitting process. The County has served as a Responsible Agency in the CEQA review process as the local government entity responsible for oversight over groundwater resources in the Cadiz Valley. In addition to approving the GMMMP, the County adopted certain findings under CEQA and is the first responsible agency to take an approving action pursuant to the certified EIR. Earlier this year, SMWD, Cadiz and the County entered into a Memorandum of Understanding creating the framework for finalizing the GMMMP in accordance with the County’s desert groundwater ordinance.
Critics of the Project have requested independent review of groundwater data and separate enforcement authority that would be held by a disinterested regulatory body. The County’s action is responsive to this request. As part of its approval of the GMMMP yesterday, the County formally established an independent enforcement role over Project’s operations and authorized groundwater withdrawals that will avoid harm to desert resources.
“As a member of the desert community for over 25 years, Cadiz has taken great care to ensure that the Project will protect critical resources of the desert by committing to comprehensive, long-term monitoring enforced by San Bernardino County.” said Company President and General Counsel Scott Slater. “We thank the County for their diligence in reviewing the Project and look forward to working together as the Project moves ahead.”
The GMMMP is a key feature of the Project created to track Project operations and ensure safe and sustainable management of the groundwater basin. It was designed by leading groundwater experts, in consultation with SMWD and San Bernardino County staff, and was finalized after receiving input from stakeholders and the public. The GMMMP includes extensive, state-of-the-art monitoring measures for critical resources of the desert (including water, air, springs, land surface and vegetation) that will be employed over a 2,000 square mile area. Regular monitoring reports will be filed with the County and subject to review and action outlined in the GMMMP.
The Project has received substantial support from scientists, local government officials and many San Bernardino County businesses and organizations, including six County-based Chambers of Commerce, the Inland Empire Chamber Legislative Alliance, the Inland Empire Economic Partnership, the Building Industry Association of Southern California, the San Bernardino Railroad Historical Society and the Morongo Basin Regional Economic Development Consortium.
The Company will now continue to proceed with final design, engineering and construction planning, complete arrangements with Project participants, and finalize necessary permits with other responsible agencies as part of the pre-construction phase.
About the Project
The Cadiz Project will provide a new, reliable water supply for approximately 400,000 Southern Californians by capturing and conserving groundwater that will otherwise be lost to evaporation from a vast aquifer system beneath Cadiz Inc. property in California’s Mojave Desert without harming the basin. In its first phase, the Project will deliver up to an average of 50,000 acre-feet per year to Southern California water providers, including SMWD, Three Valleys Municipal Water District, Suburban Water Systems, Golden State Water Company, Jurupa Community Services District, and California Water Service Company. The Arizona & California Railroad Company, which owns and operates the railroad right-of-way to be used by the Project’s proposed water conveyance pipeline, will also receive water from the Project to serve railroad purposes. A second potential future phase of the Project offers approximately one million acre-feet of aquifer storage capacity that can be used to carry-over, or “bank,” annual supplies, without the high rates of evaporative loss suffered by local surface reservoirs. All Project facilities, including a wellfield and 43-mile pipeline to the Colorado River Aqueduct, will be built on private land and avoid desert critical habitat.
About Cadiz Inc.
Founded in 1983, Cadiz Inc. is a publicly-held renewable resources company that owns 70 square miles of property with significant water resources and clean energy potential in eastern San Bernardino County, California. The Company is engaged in a combination of water supply and storage and organic farming projects. In 2009 Cadiz adopted a wide-ranging “Green Compact” to implement environmental conservation and sustainable management practices at its properties. For more information about Cadiz, visit www.cadizinc.com.
Contact: Courtney Degener, 213-271-1603