Water shortage unfairly burdens disadvantaged and rural communities, as drought causes people with the fewest options to receive less water and typically at higher costs.
Among the biggest problems in California is the lack of sufficient water conveyance facilities, specifically pipelines that can all communities. Systemic and historic shortage of California’s traditional supply from the Colorado River and the State Water Project has particularly impacted the state’s agricultural communities.
Not only is California short of water supply and water storage, but it’s conveyance infrastructure also has not been updated significantly in decades and does not equally serve or reach all California communities. There are over 1 million Californians who lack reliable access to safe clean water. Most of these Californians live in communities not accessible to the State’s traditional mainline conveyance infrastructure. Moreover, Southern California presently relies heavily on imports of water from the North and the Colorado River, and has built infrastructure to support those imports. As those imports are challenged, there are few options for conveying water between other sources.
As California and the US move to reduce their reliance on fossil fuels and oil/gas conveyance infrastructure retires or is repurposed, there is an opportunity to repurpose these lines for water or other needed conveyance, such as hydrogen or broadband.
In 2011, Cadiz optioned rights to purchase a retiring oil and gas pipeline that extends 220-miles from California’s Central Valley and terminates at the Cadiz Ranch and began a journey to explore the feasibility of converting this pipeline for water conveyance. Since we first contemplated pipeline acquisition, California’s lack of reliable access to water for all Californians, especially disadvantaged communities, has become increasingly acute.
In 2021, Cadiz completed its acquisition of the full 220-mile pipeline from El Paso Natural Gas and has named it the Northern Pipeline. Feasibility studies have demonstrated that the 30” steel pipeline could convey approximately 25,000 AF per year between communities along the route, enough water for 200,000 people. It can move water in both directions enabling trades, storage and supply opportunities to dozens of communities crossed and serviceable from the route and increase California’s conveyance and storage options for a variety of rural, military and agricultural communities.
In fact, the Northern Pipeline crosses a number of underserved and disadvantaged communities as well as state water infrastructure facilities of the State Water Project, the Los Angeles Aqueduct and the Mojave River Pipeline. The pipeline is intended to be used to complement existing water conveyance infrastructure in California in an effort to help ameliorate the structural water supply shortages facing the state. T
he Northern Pipeline was considered in the 2012 Cadiz Water Project permitting process as a potential conveyance option for aquifer storage at the Project area. However, any use of the pipeline is subject to local, state and federal regulation of any particular project between two parties.
QUICK FACTS ABOUT THE PIPELINE
To learn more about the Northern Pipeline, download our Frequently Asked Questions.