[Sign Up Now] to Receive Our FREE Daily SCVTV-SCVNews Digest by E-Mail

SCVNews.com | Opinion/Commentary: Protect the Groundwater Beneath Our National Treasures | 06-15-2017
Inside
Weather
Santa Clarita CA
Sunny
Sunny
67°F
 
Calendar
Today in
S.C.V. History
June 25
1859 - Outlaw Tiburcio Vasquez escapes from prison while serving sentence for grand larceny in L.A. County; recaptured in August and sent to San Quentin [story]


Commentary by Linda Castro
| Thursday, Jun 15, 2017

The Cadiz Valley is located in the eastern Mojave Desert, south of the Mojave National Preserve and Historic Route 66 and east of the Twentynine Palms Marine Corps Base. Cadiz Valley is a postcard of the California desert, surrounded by mountains, sand dunes, dry lake beds, ancient creosote plants and blooming yucca. Wildflower fans from southern California and beyond flock to the region for its “super bloom” of color — which doubles as an important food source for desert tortoises.

Amid the region’s beauty is the threat from the Trump administration’s new priority project: the Cadiz Water Project. Proposed by Los Angeles-based Cadiz Inc., it would pump significantly more groundwater from the valley’s aquifer than is naturally recharged, inflicting damage to the Mojave National Preserve, Mojave Trails National Monument and surrounding areas, as well as to desert wildlife.

Cadiz Inc. seeks to sell this water, vital to the environment, to markets in Orange, Riverside and some parts of Los Angeles County (not including the Santa Clarita area), despite alternative options for water resources that do not pose such irreversible threats.

For those who might not be aware where Santa Clarita gets its water – about half comes from the State Water Project (from Northern California) and about half comes from two groundwater supplies, our alluvial aquifer and the underlying Saugus formation.

When first proposed two decades ago, federal review found the Cadiz project to have significant environmental impacts on the California desert, and the Metropolitan Water District voted to reject it.

Today, while California is implementing its new approach to manage groundwater sustainably and Southern California communities are increasing local water sources and conservation measures, the Trump administration has taken a significant interest in California’s groundwater through swift actions related to the Cadiz proposal.

In just five months, the Cadiz project climbed the ladder toward the top of the Trump administration’s policy goals. In December 2016, Cadiz lobbyist David Bernhardt was tapped to head up Trump’s Interior Department transition team. In January 2017, this water project appeared on an “Emergency & National Security” infrastructure priority list created by the transition team. The following month, the Trump administration rescinded existing policies that ensured Cadiz and other companies could not evade the standard federal environmental review for projects that use public land and propose harm to national parks and monuments.

And just last month, Bernhardt was nominated by Trump to become Deputy Secretary of the Interior, a position that would oversee decisions involving Cadiz. This troubling path should be a wake-up call for California and its leaders.

In the desert, more so than other ecosystems, water is life. Cadiz Inc.’s estimate of how much water recharges into the aquifer every year is grossly exaggerated for a project that proposes to pump more than 16 billion gallons of water each year for 50 years.

The National Park Service has expressed grave concerns about impacts of this pumping to desert springs that connect to Mojave Trails National Monument and the Mojave National Preserve, the third largest national park site in the lower 48 states. The National Park Service recently concluded that the company’s estimated recharge rates “are not reasonable and should not even be considered.” The United States Geological Survey determined Cadiz’s estimated recharge rate for the aquifer was up to 10 times inflated.

Considering the ramifications of the project to our water and public lands, it is important to ask who is conducting the aquifer recharge research and who benefits from the outcome. The Park Service and the USGS, two of the most respected science-focused agencies in the nation, do not stand to benefit financially or otherwise from the Cadiz project, and they conclude the project to be harmful to the surrounding desert and its environment. The research that Cadiz Inc. relies upon has been paid for by the company.

National park lovers, desert and Southern California businesses and residents, California lawmakers and local tribes have fought this project consistently for nearly 30 years.

In California, we are beyond the days of damaging rural scenic places for unsustainable water production. In 2014, the Legislature and governor sent a clear message that groundwater in California is a precious resource that must be managed sustainably. The Cadiz project is a direct affront to this work.

California, through our Legislature and governor, must defend our groundwater management principles and ensure the Trump administration does not have the last word on our groundwater resources.

 

Linda Castro is a nature enthusiast and animal lover. She is the Assistant Policy Director for the California Wilderness Coalition and serves on the board of the SCV-based Community Hiking Club.  Her commentaries relate to California’s deserts.

 

Comment On This Story
COMMENT POLICY: We welcome comments from individuals and businesses. All comments are moderated. Comments are subject to rejection if they are vulgar, combative, or in poor taste.
REAL NAMES ONLY: All posters must use their real individual or business name. This applies equally to Twitter account holders who use a nickname.

2 Comments

  1. Karen says:

    So the State Water Board wants to control and meter my private well ( for one single family home) but will allow this pillaging??

    Seems Trump is part of the swamp he promised to drain!

  2. Harvey says:

    GO TRUMP!

    Those lands belong to the PEOPLE!

    Take your environmental scare tactics elsewhere lady!

    That land is for hunters, OHV and hikers!

Leave a Comment


Opinion Section Policy
All opinions and ideas are welcome. Factually inaccurate, libelous, defamatory, profane or hateful statements are not. Your words must be your own. All commentary is subject to editing for legibility. There is no length limit, but the shorter, the better the odds of people reading it. "Local" SCV-related topics are preferred. Send commentary to: LETTERS (at) SCVNEWS.COM. Author's full name, community name, phone number and e-mail address are required. Phone numbers and e-mail addresses are not published except at author's request. Acknowledgment of submission does not guarantee publication.
Read More From...
Related Content
RECENT COMMENTARY
Sunday, Jun 25, 2017
The Antiquities Act does not give a president the authority to revoke a national monument from a previous administration, but a sitting president can change the boundaries of a national monument. Under congressional authority, Congress can also convert a national monument to a national park, which has been done on several occasions.
Thursday, Jun 22, 2017
Hooded orioles must be the most beautiful birds you can see in your backyard. They will be here until the third week of August, so catch a glimpse while you can.
Tuesday, Jun 20, 2017
Did you know the America’s Job Center of California at College of the Canyons is a FREE resource to help your business find the employees that it needs?
Monday, Jun 19, 2017
The Cadiz Project aims to provide a supplemental supply and storage opportunity in Southern California for local water agencies by conserving water presently lost to high-salinity and evaporation at dry lake playas that serve as the only outflow pf a 1.300-square-mile desert watershed.
Sunday, Jun 18, 2017
If you hope to live longer, you might consider a big move to Minnesota or Wisconsin, or you might choose an easier path to health by improving your odds where you live.
Friday, Jun 16, 2017
If you have Medicare as well as other insurance, always be sure to tell your doctor, hospital and pharmacy. This is important because it determines whether your medical bills are paid correctly and on time.

Latest Additions to SCVNews.com
The Antiquities Act does not give a president the authority to revoke a national monument from a previous administration, but a sitting president can change the boundaries of a national monument. Under congressional authority, Congress can also convert a national monument to a national park, which has been done on several occasions.
The Scoop on National Monuments | Commentary by Dianne Erskine-Hellrigel
1859 - Outlaw Tiburcio Vasquez escapes from prison while serving sentence for grand larceny in L.A. County; recaptured in August and sent to San Quentin [story]
1980 - Saugus Train Station relocated to Heritage Junction [story]
Tonight on SCV NewsBreak, the Santa Clarita Deputies’s Commercial burglary operation caught two suspects. Plus, the Saxtravaganza returns to Hart Hall. Watch these stories and more on tonight's edition of SCV NewsBreak.
SCV NewsBreak for Friday, June 23, 2017
The California Wilderness Coalition applauds Rep. Judy Chu for introducing legislation to protect more than 31,000 acres of Wilderness and nearly 46 miles of Wild and Scenic Rivers in southern California’s San Gabriel Mountains.
House Bill Would Protect Portions of Angeles National Forest
Los Angeles County’s cannabis regulation efforts have entered an important new phase with the convening of a diverse advisory group made up of health and policy experts, community leaders, cannabis industry representatives and other key stakeholders.
L.A. County Cannabis Advisory Team Begins Work in June
An al-Qaida in the Arabian Peninsula senior leader was killed in Yemen’s Shabwah governorate by a June 16 U.S. airstrike, U.S. Central Command said in a release.
Senior al-Qaida Leader Killed by U.S. Airstrike
California Attorney General Xavier Becerra has announced that California will prohibit state-funded and state-sponsored travel to Alabama, Kentucky, South Dakota and Texas based on discriminatory legislation enacted in each state.
California Prohibits State-Funded Travel to Four States
Circle of Hope is growing. In an effort to expand the scope of the nonprofit's aid to local cancer sufferers, the originally breast-cancer-only organization added additional cancers to its Client Advocacy Program over the past few years, including the most recent, malignant melanoma.
Circle of Hope Announces New Logo
Princess Cruises has announced that Yao Ming and his wife, Ye Li, will serve as Inaugural Cruise Ambassadors for Princess Cruises in China and officially name the new Majestic Princess during a ceremony and gala celebration.
Princess Cruises to Name Inaugural Cruise Ambassadors in China
The Moorpark Unified School District is very pleased to announce the employment of Ms. Anne Gibson as Assistant Superintendent of Business Services.
SCV Resident Named a Moorpark Assistant Superintendent
Burglary suppression operations helped Santa Clarita deputies nab a pair of alleged burglars breaking into a Valencia realty office Friday, officials said.
Two Suspects Arrested During Burglary Suppression Operations
According to the South Coast Air Quality Management District, air quality will be unhealthy for sensitive individuals in East San Gabriel Valley, San Gabriel Mountains and Santa Clarita Valley tomorrow, Saturday, June 23.
Air Quality Advisory Issued for SCV
The Los Angeles County Health Officer has issued a heat alert as high temperatures have been forecast for the Santa Clarita Valley on Sunday, June 25, and Monday, June 26.
High Heat Alert for SCV Sunday and Monday
Nearly a dozen productions including commercials, features, TV shows and a student project are shooting in Santa Clarita next week.
Filming in SCV June 26-July 2: Commercials, Features, TV
As the Fourth of July approaches, the city of Santa Clarita, the SCV Sheriff’s Station and the County Fire Department want to send the clear message that the city has zero tolerance for fireworks.
Santa Clarita Has Zero Tolerance for All Fireworks
Rep. Steve Knight (CA-25), along with Rep Marcy Kaptur (OH-09), introduced legislation, H.R. 3033, the Aeronautics Innovation Act of 2017, which would create funding and programmatic stability for NASA.
Knight Introduces Aeronautics Innovation Act of 2017
Organizers of the 5th annual SCV Walk to End Alzheimer’s on October 7 are seeking additional sponsorships from Santa Clarita Valley companies and business owners.
Business Sponsorships Sought for SCV Walk to End Alzheimer’s
Here's a roundup of crimes now being investigated by Santa Clarita Valley Sheriff’s Station detectives in Newhall, Zone 3:
Blotter: Newhall, Zone 6 – 06/12/17 to 06/18/17
Agenda for the Santa Clarita City Council's regular meeting at City Hall on Tuesday, June 27, starting at 5:30 p.m.
June 27: Santa Clarita City Council Regular Meeting
Agenda for the Santa Clarita City Council's Special Meeting, City Hall Chambers, Tuesday, June 27 at 5:30 p.m.
June 27: Santa Clarita City Council Special Meeting
Agenda for the Arts Commission Study Session June 26 at 6:30 p.m. in the Century Room at City Hall.
June 26: Agenda for Arts Commission Study Session
The Lancaster JetHawks hit three home runs and took a 7-5 lead to the ninth, but the Rancho Cucamonga Quakes rallied for an 8-7 victory to open the season's second half on Thursday night at The Hangar.
JetHawks Drop Second Half Opener to Quakes Thursday
Stevenson Ranch: Zone 3, Public Safety Report for the week of 06/12/17 to 06/18/17.
Crime Blotter: Burglary, Vandalism in Stevenson Ranch
1946, 11:20pm: William S. Hart, 81, dies at L.A.'s California Lutheran Hospital, leaving his Newhall home and 80-acre estate to L.A. County [story]
June 30 is the deadline for Santa Clarita residents to submit entries to the city's quarterly photo contest.
June 30: Last Day to Enter City’s Summer Photo Contest
Tonight on SCV NewsBreak, a road rage incident is caught on camera. Plus, local deputies work on a crime suppression operation. Watch these stories and more on tonight's edition of SCV NewsBreak.
SCV NewsBreak for Thursday, June 22, 2017
Olympian Alysia Montaño, a graduate of Canyon High School and a seven-time national champion, is competing in the 2017 USATF Outdoor Championships as she did in 2014 -- while pregnant.
Olympian Alysia Montaño Races Pregnant for a Second Time
A road rage incident on Highway 14 near Newhall Avenue Wednesday morning resulted in a two-car crash and a motorcyclist who remains at large, according to CHP officials.
CHP Seeks Motorcyclist in Road Rage Crash
While Mark Bradford and Sharon Lockhart represent the United States and Poland, respectively, in the prestigious Venice Bienniale (La Biennale di Venezia), two other CalArtians' work is also on view there.
CalArtians Danz and Rosero in 57th Biennale International Art Exhibition
CalArts has named Dimitri Chamblas, former artistic director of the Paris Opera’s creative digital platform 3rd Scene, as the new Dean of The Sharon Disney Lund School of Dance.
CalArts Names Dimitri Chamblas Dean of Lund School of Dance
Los Angeles County supervisors have scheduled a special meeting on Monday, June 26, to consider final approval of the county's $30 million-plus 2017-18 budget.
June 26: County Weighs Budget, Expecting State and Federal Cuts
Bond oversight legislation authored by California State Senator Scott Wilk (R-Antelope Valley) has been given the thumbs-up by the Assembly Education Committee.
Wilk School Bond Oversight Bill Clears Assembly Policy Committee
Air quality will be unhealthy for all individuals in the Santa Clarita Valley and for sensitive individuals in the East San Gabriel Valley and San Gabriel Mountains tomorrow, June 23.
SCV Air Quality Bad on Friday
Castaic residents attending a Town Council meeting expressed their anger over a Taco Bell fast-food restaurant on The Old Road that already has a foundation.
Castaic Residents Angry About New Taco Bell on The Old Road
Responding to a spike in drug overdoses in the Santa Clarita Valley, Bob Sharits of The Way Out Recovery brought together a group of treatment providers to address mental health and addiction treatment during a meeting on Thursday.
Addiction Recovery Providers Meet at Way Out Recovery to Discuss SCV Overdoses