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Three Valleys Moving Forward with Study of Bonanza Spring in Eastern Mojave
The Board of Directors for Three Valleys Municipal Water District (TVMWD) of Los Angeles County voted last week to approve a new in-depth study that will investigate the potential environmental impacts of the Cadiz Water Project on mountain springs in the eastern Mojave Desert.
The scope of the Bonanza Spring Study was approved by a Board vote of 4-1 during a special meeting. As a potential customer of the proposed Cadiz Water Project, TVMWD is trying to determine whether or not the Mojave Desert spring is connected to the project.
The Cadiz Water Project has been evaluated under the California Environmental Quality Act (“CEQA”) and independently reviewed and approved by the County of San Bernardino under local ordinances in 2012. Both actions were judicially validated in California’s Courts in 2016. Subsequently, an Addendum to the Project’s CEQA Final Environmental Impact Report was adopted by the Santa Margarita Water District in June 2019 which addressed new studies of springs released in 2018 as well as water treatment plans.
The new study, first commissioned by the Board last June is being led by Hydrologist Anthony Brown of Aquilogic, Inc. Brown is an expert on groundwater issues who has testified as an expert witness in Court and before Congress and the White House. During the public hearing, Brown stressed that the study will be open and transparent. “We follow rigorous scientific principles,” he said. “The study will go where the science takes us.”
During the special meeting, science team member Paul Bauman, a geophysicist from Advisian, told the Board that he will be using ground-penetrating radar, seismic refraction, drone imaging and other techniques to map faults, subsurface rocks and water levels surrounding the Bonanza spring. The hydrology portion will monitor precipitation, stream flow and water levels in the spring.
Brown and Bauman will also be joined by geochemist and an ecologist. Field work will begin in March and be completed by December. During that time, Brown will report to the Board quarterly.
The scope of the study was developed following a public workshop at Three Valleys’ offices held in October 2019. The study team’s work will be peer reviewed by nationally recognized experts who have yet to be identified. A final report and Board presentation is currently scheduled for February 2021.
To access the plan and background materials, visit www.bonanzaspringstudy.org.