Last week the Coachella Valley Water District (“CVWD”) Board of Directors voted 5-0 to approve an agreement with Cadiz, the Salton Sea Authority (“SSA”), and the Torres Martinez Desert Cahuilla Indians (“Torres Martinez”) and make CVWD water conveyance infrastructure available for delivery of 5,000 acre-feet per year of water supply to the Salton Sea and Torres Martinez, when the Cadiz Project is operational.
The water will be used to support restoration of the Salton Sea and support health, safety and economic development on Tribal lands and in disadvantaged communities in eastern Coachella Valley. Under the agreement, Cadiz will make water available from the Cadiz water project to the Salton Sea Authority and Torres Martinez Tribe at no cost.
“Cadiz is a critical piece of California’s water storage, transportation and supply network,” said Cadiz Executive Chair Susan Kennedy. “The Cadiz water project is the only new major storage capacity south of the Sacramento-San Joaquin Delta and the only new source of water supply that can help Southern Californians reduce demand from the imperiled Colorado River.”
The San Bernardino County Board of Supervisors also unanimously approved its oversight role in the inter-agency Technical Review Panel (“TRP”) formed earlier this year to provide scientific and environmental monitoring of the Cadiz Project. The three member TRP is a key component of the Cadiz water project’s Groundwater Management, Monitoring and Mitigation Plan (“GM3P”) established in 2012 in compliance with the County’s Desert Groundwater Management Ordinance. The GM3P requires the TRP to be in place at least 12 months before the project commences to establish baseline data on aquifer and watershed conditions for the monitoring program. In accordance with the GM3P, the County and Santa Margarita Water District (“SMWD”), the project’s lead agency, each appoint one member to the TRP, and the third member is selected by unanimous agreement of those representatives. San Bernardino County named William Halligan, PG, Senior Principal Hydrogeologist with Luhdorff & Scalmanini, an award-winning California-based groundwater consulting firm, as its representative on the TRP. The action also authorized the County’s Chief Executive Officer to oversee continued implementation of the TRP, including adoption of operating procedures and any professional services contracts with a third member of the panel.