The Cadiz Valley Water Conservation Recovery and Storage Project is required to complete an environmental review process consistent with the California Environmental Quality Act (CEQA) before it can be constructed. The Santa Margarita Water District (SMWD) acted as Lead Agency of this CEQA process and issued a draft Environmental Impact Report (EIR) in December 2011 for public review. SMWD accepted comments on the Draft EIR for 100 days and held an informational workshop and two public comment meetings during the public comment period.
A Final EIR was released in July 2012 responding to all comments received on the draft environmental documents. The Final EIR summarized that with implementation of the Project’s extensive groundwater monitoring program, Project operations would avoid any significant impacts to the environment. On July 31, 2012, the Board of Directors of SMWD voted unanimously to certify the Final EIR and approve the Project. To view the Final EIR, click here.
The County of San Bernardino 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. On October 1, 2012, the County was the first Responsible Agency to take an approving action pursuant to the certified EIR when it approved the Project’s Groundwater Management, Monitoring and Mitigation Plan (GMMMP) and adopted certain findings under CEQA.
Third parties have the ability under CEQA to file litigation challenging the approval of a project. Following the receipt of Project approvals in 2012, Cadiz was named as a real party in interest in various lawsuits seeking to overturn the Project approvals granted by SMWD and the County. Six cases went to trial in December 2013. In May 2014, the Judge in the cases denied all claims against the Project and upheld the Project approvals. To view the Statements of Decision in the separate cases, click here.
To learn more about the Project, click on the links below: