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Critical Meeting regarding the Cadiz Water Project
free ride to meeting available


About a month ago, we asked you to join us (MBCA) along with the National Parks Conservation Association (NPCA) and other groups to attend the Santa Margarita Water District Board Meeting, to demonstrate our great concern about the “Cadiz Valley Water Conservation, Recovery, and Storage Project.” Then, on short notice, we had to announce to you that the SMWD Board meeting was cancelled. Now, we must ask again for your presence at the SMWD’s Board meeting on Wednesday, July 25---this is critical! The Final Environmental Impact Report (FEIR) on the project will be presented, and we must have many desert residents present to speak publicly about the folly of this project and its harmful effects to “our” Mojave Desert. And if you get your reservation in by Monday, July 23, you will have a free ride to and from the Board meeting in Orange County.

Attached is a document provided by Seth Shteir of the NPCA. It gives you details about the free transportation to the SMWD Board Meeting next Wednesday, July 25, at 6:30 p.m. at the SMWD offices in Rancho Santa Margarita. Seth has also provided “Talking Points” that explain our concerns and can form the basic for your own 3-minute comment at the Board meeting if you are so moved.

Also attached is a document with detailed directions to the meeting in Mission Viejo (it’s not at the Water District HQ this time), if you are forming a carpool or driving yourself.

It is true that there will be a teleconference version of the SMWD Board meeting set up at Copper Mountain College (same date and time). If you cannot join your concerned neighbors and friends and travel to Mission Viejo, please attend the teleconferenced meeting at CMC. As Seth points out in the attached letter, being at the actual Board meeting intensifies the effect of our intentions to oppose this inappropriate project, but there is also value in an additional large turnout at the College.

A recent article in the LA Times provides a refresher on the issues of the project and the entrance of a new participant in the fight against it, Tetra Technologies, Inc.:,0,6037284.story?track=rss

If you would like to access the full FEIR for the project, the link is in about the middle of this page on the SMWD website:

And here is a recent Sun Runner article from Steve Brown:

Thank you. Hope to see many of you in Orange County next Wednesday!Catch a free ride with National Parks Conservation Association to the Santa Margarita Water District Board (SMWD) Meeting on July 25!

Orange County’s Santa Margarita Water District and the Cadiz, inc. are proposing to drawdown precious Mojave Desert water resources. The word conservation, which is present in the title of this project, is usually defined as saving something for future generations. But this project doesn’t save a drop for our children or grandchildren. It is an aggressive groundwater mining scheme that could adversely impact water resources, air quality and our federal lands.

The Final EIR for this project was released this week and the last opportunity to comment on this project has been scheduled. Although a video conferencing room at Copper Mountain College’s Bell Center is being made available for local residents, I encourage you to ride with us and protect the desert in person for the July 25, 2012 Santa Margarita Water District Board Meeting. Let the Santa Margarita Water Board know that our desert communities don’t support this misguided project and want to protect groundwater resources, the Mojave National Preserve and air quality. Ultimately, there’s no substitute for voicing your opposition directly in front of the SMWD Board where decisions are being made!

The vans will leave at 2PM from the NPCA office at 61325Twentynine Palms Hwy. Suite D. in Joshua Tree, CA and will return late in the evening. Please bring snacks, a beverage and a jacket in case of cool evening breezes. The meeting is at 6:30 p.m. at the Norman P. Murray Community and Senior Center in the Sycamore Room, at 24932 Veterans Way, Mission Viejo, CA 92692 (not SMWD’s offices) for those who plan to travel independently.

Please RSVP by noon on Monday, July 23, 2012 to Seth Shteir of the National Parks Conservation Association at

Thank you all for being good friends to our desert national parks and our desert communities!


Seth Shteir, California Desert Field Representative

National Parks Conservation Association

Talking Points

• The Cadiz Project is Unsustainable-This project is located in the desert of southern California in an area with very low precipitation. The Cadiz Inc. intends to remove at least 50,000 acre-feet of water a year (and if they can get away with it, 75,000 acre-feet per year in the early years) for 50 years and sell it to local water agencies in Los Angeles and Orange Counties. However, most scientists estimating that recharge lies between 2,000 and 10,000 acre feet/year. This means the groundwater levels will drop and drop, like taking more water out of a bathtub than you put in. This is simply an unsustainable and aggressive groundwater mining scheme.

• The Cadiz Project could adversely Impact our Federal Lands and Water Resources. Cadiz claims that there will be no impacts to the Mojave National Preserve’s springs, but the National Park Service says that conclusion is premature and that springs could be impacted by project pumping. Another significant issue with the project is the delayed response in the aquifer. The cone of depression, or groundwater area of groundwater diminished by pumping, is more extensive in the 100-year scenario (after 50 years of recovery) versus the 50-year scenario (at the end of project pumping). This indicates that unforeseen impacts to water resources that occur as a result of project pumping will continue to manifest for an extended period of time. Therefore, the aquifer system will be very difficult, if not impossible, to manage under the monitoring and mitigation plan.

• A Flawed Impacts Analysis- The impact analysis in the EIR suffers in reliability as a result of the flawed hydrologic modeling. This is best illustrated by geologically unreasonable rates of evapotranspiration coming off of Bristol and Cadiz Dry Lake, but also affects the Impacts Analysis. Finally, the cone of depression is anticipated to extend to elevations approaching the head at Bonanza Spring, which could impact this beautiful spring located in Senator Dianne Feinstein’s new proposed Mojave Trails National Monument.

• Climate Change – It is likely that climate change will reduce the amount of precipitation during the length of the proposed 50 year project pumping period, reducing the amount of water that will recharge the aquifer. This issue is not adequately addressed in the impacts analysis.

• Air Quality - Yet another cause for concern is the project’s impact to air quality in our desert region. Bristol and Cadiz dry lake beds, deprived of all moisture, could contribute to airborne dust particles and jeopardize air quality. There’s no way of knowing what the exact ramifications of the project will be on air quality, but the U.S. geological Survey states that Owen’s Lake, a dried lake bed in the Owen’s Valley, that for many years was deprived of water resources, has produced enormous amounts of windblown dust since its desiccation and is probably the largest source of PM 10 in the United States. This represents a public health risk and a study by the Pacific Institute titled, “Economic Evaluation of the Cadiz Project,” which analyzes the economic and environmental cost of an earlier Cadiz proposal to pump the desert’s groundwater, stated that in 2001 the cost of mitigating airborne dust impacts from the drying out of Owens Lake was estimated to be $60 million dollars.

Joshua Tree Gateway Communities