17 May News: California Court of Appeal Upholds Cadiz Water Project Approvals, Media Coverage
California Water News Daily, staff writer
The California 4th District Court of Appeal ruled earlier this week in favor of upholding six lower court decisions validating the Cadiz Water Project’s proposal to deliver an average of 50,000 acre feet of conserved, renewable desert groundwater to communities throughout Southern California. The three-judge panel in Santa Ana stated in six separate rulings the project had adhered to California laws regarding environmental reviews and they had not violated San Bernardino County ordinance protecting desert groundwater.
“We are extremely grateful for the Appellate Court opinion and its validation of the environmental review and approval of the Water Project,” said Cadiz CEO Scott Slater.
The Cadiz Valley Water Conservation, Recovery and Storage Project was separately approved by San Bernardino County and Santa Margarita Water District in 2012 and will provide enough water to supply 100,000 homes a year. The project has been developed by Cadiz Inc. as a public-private partnership with Santa Margarita Water District and other water agencies in Southern California. SMWD serves homes and businesses in southern Orange County. Water from the project is expected to be delivered to water users in six southern California counties, 20% of the water has been reserved for water agencies in San Bernardino County.
Courthouse News Service, Julie Baker-Dennis
A California appeals court panel cleared the way for the Cadiz Mojave Desert groundwater project to continue, rejecting two attempts to hinder its progress on environmental grounds. The proposed project to pump ancient groundwater from property owned by Cadiz Inc. in the Mojave Desert using an underground aquifer has been the focus of six related lawsuits. A public-private partnership, the project intends to prevent wasting water in the aquifer by pumping it out and transferring it customers in Los Angeles, Riverside, San Bernardino, Orange, and Riverside counties. The Cadiz Valley and Fenner Valley aquifer system located in the Mojave Desert holds an estimated 17 to 34 million acre-feet of fresh groundwater, which flows to two dry lakes where it becomes unusable. “The fundamental purpose of the project is to save ‘substantial quantities of groundwater’ that are being lost to evaporation and excess salinity,” Fourth Appellate District Judge Richard Fybel wrote in one of the opinions.
Desert Sun, Ian James
A company’s proposal to pump billions of gallons of water from a Mojave Desert aquifer has survived a legal fight as an appeals court rejected several challenges by opponents of the plan. In six rulings, California’s 4th District Court of Appeal upheld earlier decisions backing a state environmental review. Cadiz Inc. praised the rulings, which were issued on Tuesday, as a step toward a project that would pump enough groundwater to supply about 400,000 people. “This project has met every test,” said Scott Slater, the Los Angeles-based Company’s president and CEO. He said the court decision “validates that we’ve done it the right way.”
LOS ANGELES – A plan to pump groundwater from the Fenner Valley aquifer in the Mojave Desert and deliver the water to municipal and industrial uses in Southern California has been upheld by the California 4th District Court of Appeal. (Download the decision by clicking on the link at the end of this story.) The Cadiz Valley Water Conservation, Recovery and Storage Project had been challenged by environmental organizations and a salt mining operation. Cadiz Inc. is the owner of approximately 45,000 acres of land in eastern San Bernardino County, most of which overlies the Fenner Valley aquifer system. Cadiz and the Santa Margarita Water District plan to pump out about 50,000 acre feet of groundwater per year on average over a period of 50 years and to deliver the groundwater via the Colorado River Aqueduct.
Tech Times, Catherine Cabral-Isabedra
Mojave Desert groundwater will be transferred to the cities, as California appellate court upholds ruling. California’s 4th District Court of Appeals three-judge panel ruled on May 10 that selling water to agencies did not violate any state laws. The decision allows Los Angeles-based private company, Cadiz, Inc., to transfer 75,000 acre feet of groundwater from the Mojave Desert to Southern California homes and businesses. The transfer of groundwater will be through a 43-mile pipeline that passes the Colorado River aqueduct to the 34 new wells in Cadiz and Fenner valleys located in San Bernardino County. The transfer of groundwater would be enough to provide water to as many as 150,000 households.
San Bernardino Sun, Jim Steinberg
Cadiz Inc. won a decisive courtroom victory Tuesday for its plans to transfer ancient groundwater in a remote part of San Bernardino County’s Mojave Desert to parts of Orange County and other locations. California’s Fourth District Court of Appeal in Santa Ana upheld six lower court decisions dealing with various governmental approvals and environmental reviews of the controversial water project. “The six Court of Appeal opinions issued today continue an uninterrupted validation of the Cadiz Water Project and its mission to conserve and deliver enough water for 400,000 people without harm to the environment,” said CEO Scott Slater, of Los Angeles-based Cadiz.
Associated Press, Elliot Spagat
A California appeals court on Tuesday upheld plans for a large transfer of Mojave Desert groundwater to homes and businesses in Southern California. The ruling by a three-judge panel in Santa Ana moves urban districts a step closer to getting up to 75,000 acre feet of desert groundwater a year from the Cadiz and Fenner valleys in San Bernardino County — enough to supply about 150,000 homes. The water will be pumped with about 34 new wells and sent on a 43-mile pipeline to the Colorado River aqueduct, which serves 19 million people in Southern California. In separate rulings, California’s 4th District Court of Appeals said the project didn’t violate a San Bernardino County ordinance to protect desert groundwater and that it adhered to state law for environmental reviews. It was a setback for environmental groups that view the water transfer as unwelcome incentive for suburban sprawl in a parched region and a threat to desert wildlife, including tortoises and bighorn sheep.
Press Enterprise, Alicia Robinson
Now that plans to pump underground water from deep in the Mojave Desert have survived a legal challenge, project developer Cadiz Inc. faces hurdles in delivering the water to customers around Southern California. A state appeals court on Tuesday, May 10, upheld six rulings in the company’s favor on various environmental and procedural challenges.
Cadiz Inc. wins groundwater Dispute in appellate court decision
Daily Journal, Renee Flannery
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