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Cadiz (CDZI) Receives Go-Ahead from Water Agencies for Water Conservation Project

Cadiz Inc., a renewable resources company engaged in water conservation and supply, solar energy and organic farming projects, yesterday announced that two Southern California water agencies have approved agreements to move forward with the Cadiz Water Conservation & Storage Project and participate in the Project’s environmental review.

The Cadiz Project in San Bernardino County, Calif. is one of the largest water conservation efforts of its kind. The design is to capture and recycle billions of gallons of renewable native groundwater that currently goes to waste by evaporation through the aquifer system, and use it as a sustainable annual supply for subscribers.

The Santa Margarita Water District and Three Valleys Municipal Water District serve an aggregate 650,000+ customers throughout Orange and Los Angeles Counties. The boards of directors for both agencies have unanimously approved agreements that commit funds to an environmental review of the Cadiz Project. The agreement also gives the agencies the right to access the supply of water upon completion of the environmental review.

“After several months of due diligence, we have determined that the Cadiz Project represents a significant and sustainable new water supply opportunity for Southern California that can be obtained without harming other users or the environment,” Santa Margarita Water District Board Member Saundra F. Jacobs stated in the press release. “By moving ahead with the Project, we are working to drought-proof our agency, ensuring both a steady supply and a reliable bank of storage for the long-term in an environmentally responsible way. We look forward to taking the lead in the environmental review.”

The two agencies signed Letters of Intent with Cadiz in 2009, which got the ball rolling for yesterday’s agreement. The agencies approved these agreements after extensive due diligence, including the recent publication of a comprehensive study of the Project’s aquifer system by environmental firm CH2M Hill.

The study estimates total groundwater in storage in the aquifer system between 17 million and 34 million acre-feet, and confirmed a renewable annual supply of native groundwater in the aquifer system currently being lost to evaporation.

“We are pleased that the Project is moving ahead on the strength of sound science and we look forward to the CEQA environmental review process,” Cadiz General Counsel Scott Slater stated. “We’ve enjoyed briefing numerous stakeholders and various environmental groups over the past several months about the Project’s new water conservation strategy, and we welcome the chance for a thoughtful, fact-based analysis of the benefits it will bring to Southern California.”

Bob Kuhn, president of the Three Valleys Municipal Water District board of directors, concluded by highlighting the benefits of the Cadiz Project for the agencies and customers.

“Cadiz has presented us with a unique opportunity; one that Three Valleys is excited to pursue. The Cadiz Project affords us the chance to obtain a completely new, sustainable water supply by saving water otherwise lost to evaporation and at a price competitive with other new sources, enabling us to improve our overall water supply reliability,” Kuhn stated.

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