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Study: Cadiz Project Hurts Aquifer Under Mojave Trails Nat'l. Monument

A pipeline project to send water from the Mojave Desert to seven other counties has drawn opposition for two decades.(BLM)
A pipeline project to send water from the Mojave Desert to seven other counties has drawn opposition for two decades.(BLM)
April 18, 2018

AMBOY, Calif. - New research undermines claims that the proposed Cadiz Water Project would be safe for the environment, finding instead that it would drain water from the aquifer that feeds springs within Mojave Trails National Monument.

A new, peer-reviewed study in the Journal of Environmental Forensics analyzed water samples to make the connection - whereas the state environmental impact report and a prior study found the project would not draw down the aquifer.

David Lamfrom, California Desert and Wildlife Program director at the National Parks Conservation Association, said the new research proves the environmental impact report is flawed.

"The very source of the springs Cadiz has claimed that they will not threaten is the aquifer where they are drawing their water from," he said, "and that's completely different than what they had told us before."

The Cadiz project would send more than 16 billion gallons a year to seven counties in Southern California. The water pipeline would cross some state-owned land, and the State Lands Commission has said it will require additional permitting and probably more environmental review.

The Obama administration said the project requires a federal permit, but the Trump administration ruled that the project can go forward.

Lamfrom said the transfer of water would devastate wildlife in that area.

"The California desert is one of the hottest and driest places in the world, and it's also one of the most beautiful," he said. "We have incredible national monuments and national parks, and remarkable wildlife - like bighorn sheep and golden eagles and mountain lions and desert tortoise - and those water sources are critical."

Opponents of the project are calling on Cadiz to voluntarily re-evaluate it in light of the new science. Cadiz said it stands by the project and hopes to break ground as soon as possible.

The report is online at
tandfonline.com.

Suzanne Potter, Public News Service - CA