Cadiz Inc. (“Cadiz”, the “Company”), a California business dedicated to sustainable water and agricultural projects, issued a statement from Company CEO Scott Slater on the heels of World Water Day as California faces another dry year.
“Today, most Californians find themselves staring down another drought declaration. This is exacerbated by the reality that more than 1 million Californians are without reliable access to clean, affordable water. Climate change is telling us limits on traditional supplies can and will continue and we must be innovative in our work to move water between communities that need it and to ensure it can happen safely and successfully in any hydrological year.
As Californians, we embrace our duty to use water efficiently. Water conservation is woven into the ethic of Californians, especially in newer generations. And here in California, it’s the law because the voters adopted a constitutional amendment requiring the efficient capture, distribution and use of water. That effort has proven wildly successful by reducing consumption by hundreds of thousands of acre feet.
But drought-induced conservation, or mandatory rationing, hurts the most vulnerable of our citizens. When water sales are reduced through rationing, these fixed costs are spread over lower volumes and rates spike. Consumers pay more for less water – the least common-sense answer to this problem – impacting those on fixed incomes. Such shortages and corresponding rate spikes can often be prevented by meaningful investments in supply, storage and conveyance instead of relying on cutbacks and hoping for the next wet year.
From the start, Cadiz saw the extraordinary need to address these persistent challenges and improve the conditions and quality of the life of Californians. Mark Twain famously said, ‘Whiskey is for drinking, and water is for fighting over,’ and while the fighting ensued in California, Cadiz sensed that with innovation and creativity, there could be solutions in place of conflict. Cadiz land position, water resources and infrastructure are unique, and we believe Cadiz is the only private sector company in California that has such an opportunity to help address that the State’s supply, storage and conveyance needs with cost-effective solutions. Our team dug in and sought to replace a vexing and rancorous policy debate with visionary answers.
The Cadiz Water Project will manage an ongoing loss of groundwater to salinity and evaporation and create new water for 400,000 people a year. Our Water Project permits anticipate that up to 1M acre-feet of imported water can also be stored, for a period of up to 10 years, without evaporative losses.
While permitting water projects in California takes time, we have not been idle, taking steps to implement the Project over the past 18 months, including increasing our groundwater monitoring and constructing wells to meet the needs of farming on our overlying land as well as off-property municipal and industrial uses. Three new wells alone can reliably pump and deliver up to 10,000 acre-feet per year.
Cadiz is also prepared to dramatically improve the state’s water conveyance network through its acquisition of a 220-mile pipeline from El Paso Natural Gas (“EPNG”). This pipeline crosses the State Water Project in two locations and the Los Angeles Aqueduct while traversing large portions of San Bernardino, Los Angeles and Kern Counties. The pipeline lies within an extensive right-of-way corridor that runs over federal land and, we were pleased to see EPNG’s Right of Way (“ROW”) was renewed in 2019 along with an assignment of EPNG’s ROW to Cadiz. This and another new ROW that expressly authorized the conveyance of water have presented an opportunity to interconnect California’s main water infrastructure for the first time.
We look forward to using this pipeline to work with public agencies and willing transferors to move water and assist others in providing aid to rural communities that presently lack access to clean reliable water subject to state and federal laws. Limited access would no longer be a barrier for communities on this route and a great public service.
‘Wait till next year’ is the refrain of teams that lose the World Series or the Super Bowl. But those contests do not have the same consequences for hundreds of thousands of families, or businesses or communities seeking to survive. Cadiz has strived for solutions that can be put into a complex system that can make our State a better place in which to live and not be relying on the most unreliable thing that time bestows on us: the weather.
No Californian should be without access to water, especially when solutions stand ready to deliver. We are hopeful about the opportunities to make meaningful change and seek to inspire the private sector to mobilize along with us for the public good.”