Cadiz takes all the water, public takes the risk - Hi-Desert Star: Letters To Editor

Cadiz takes all the water, public takes the risk

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Posted: Wednesday, May 30, 2012 5:00 am

Regarding “Project will leave desert high and dry, Saturday Guest Soapbox:

Stacy Doolittle accurately stated that the proposed Cadiz Valley Water Conservation, Recovery and Storage Project is “a very bad idea” for these reasons:

1. Pumping 50,000 acre feet per year of San Bernardino County water for 50 years, transferring it out of the county, and selling it to an Orange County water district consortium at one to two billion estimated profits to Cadiz, Inc.

2. This water is a public resource that is being sold back to the public. Plus, Cadiz, Inc. is seeking government subsidies.

3. Cadiz, Inc. claims that the aquifer is not connected to other water sources (e.g. Bonanza Springs or Mojave National Preserve), but cannot prove it.

4. According to the Los Angeles Times, San Bernardino supervisors, our public servants, have received campaign contributions from Cadiz, Inc.

5. Supervisors recently voted (4-1) for an agreement that gives the county the authority to enforce the project’s monitoring and management plan, despite the fact that, due to the nature of the project, problems can go unnoticed until too late or arise only after the project’s end.

The “very-bad-idea” project gets worse. Independent hydrologists have characterized the project as “totally unsustainable,” as more water will be pumped out of the desert than will be replaced through natural recharge.

The project has also been characterized as “high-risk activity” because the cone depression or drawdown from pumping will continue to expand for 50 years after the project ends. That means, should an impact occur to a spring or other sensitive receptor, there are no means to prevent the condition from worsening first and recovery from taking as long as a century or substantially more.

The project is flawed in many other ways, not driven by motives of conservation or recovery, and without regard to damage to the fragile desert ecosystems and effects on the region, on the people who live here, and much less on future generations.

The “recovery” in the proposed project’s title refers to recapturing the “loss” of groundwater underneath the dry lakes due to surface evaporation; it’s a spurious and circular argument, a sales pitch for the project. We all know the benefits of swamp (evaporative) coolers; they cool the air. The resulting moisture in the air is needed to sustain vegetation and wildlife in the area. However, in this form it cannot be turned into money. Their solution: The groundwater level must be drawn down so it cannot get lost anymore.

“Conservation” means “to reduce, reuse, recycle” so that something is left for future generations — not to perpetuate the self-indulgence of the few today. A project of this magnitude requires greater public confidence in its sustainability than Cadiz, Inc. is able to generate with this proposal. It is impossible to predict the outcome of pumping that much water for so long and what effect climate change will have on the region.

Water is a public trust resource. All water in the state is owned by the people of California. While water rights provide the right to reasonable and beneficial use of water, it does not provide the right to ownership of the water. No person has any vested rights to appropriate water in a manner harmful to the interests protected by the public trust. They take all the water, but we take all the risk.

Our elected officials have sworn to uphold the Constitution of both the United States and  the state of California. The project is in violation of both.

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  • jgiegerich posted at 4:55 pm on Fri, Jun 1, 2012.

    jgiegerich Posts: 2

    Thank you to both Ms. Fleck and Stacy Doolittle for your very informative letters on the shameful Cadiz Water Grab. along with Stacy, I am a founding member of Transition Joshua Tree, a grassroots movement that works with the community to transition to a life rooted in sound sustainable practices. I think it's safe to say that our community and all desert communities are under attack. Big corporations have now decided that the desert is worth plundering. For years, Joshua Tree has fought off the suits with their frozen smiles, their greed and their outright lies. They always come assuming that desert dwellers are push overs, brains baked by the sun. They are astonished to find extremely fierce, intelligent and capable protectors of the land. The Cadiz insanity is one more example of this. Many of us here share a powerful vision of a life lived in harmony with the patterns of nature. We will fight to protect this land and the flora and fauna that depend upon it.

  • don krouse posted at 4:16 pm on Thu, May 31, 2012.

    don krouse Posts: 160

    I completely agree with Ms. Fleck.

    We have the endless battle of David vs. Goliath (ecosystem preservation vs. cannibal capitalism.)

    I have never understood why the natural resources of the earth so easily fall into the controlling hands of so few, but that condition flourishes especially in a time where regulation is considered evil. It is absurd that a natural resource does not belong to everyone including a healthy Mother Nature without which we advance our own extinction.

    Maybe Orange County could build desalination plants if they want to use so much water. What ever happened to the building cisterns, to collect water from downspouts during the rainy season, and have been successfully used since ancient times? Oh, I forgot, it would not make a few exceptionally wealthy at the expense of many.

  • idavidgraficks posted at 11:37 am on Thu, May 31, 2012.

    idavidgraficks Posts: 994

    I agree with Ms. Fleck and so did Supervisor Neil Derry (he was the one in the four-to-one Vote). The initial premise for this project is flawed (nice way of saying F#*cked up). The evaporation from those Dry Lakes doesn't get far in the Mojave desert. The water-carrying capabilities of desert air is HIGHLY dependent on temperature. When there's the nightly drop in 30 degrees, a lot of that moisture (most all) in the air drops also. Those Joshua Tree forests (largest and amazing in the world) of the Cima Dome are highly dependent on this evaporation-moisture drop cycle (they are downwind of the Cadiz Water Theft Scheme). Joshua Trees have adapted their frond form to collect as much dropping moisture as possible. So go look again at those Joshua Trees closely and then go and touch your car early in the morning. AAHHHHhhhhhhh, so that's how it works.


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