Critics of the Cadiz Water Project in San Bernardino County’s Mojave Desert have spared no bit of innuendo, propaganda, administrative interference, and plain old lies in a flailing effort to stop the project from providing clean, renewable water to 100,000 households in Southern California.
For the record, the Cadiz Water Project has been under way for over a decade, has been approved by the County of San Bernardino, passed an extensive environmental review, and meets all state and federal water quality guidelines for untreated water. Not only did the project pass California’s stringent California Environmental Quality Act with a full Environmental Impact Report (EIR), the EIR easily withstood court challenges by environmental extremist organizations before two State Judges.
But that hasn’t stopped opponents, including Senator Dianne Feinstein and a handful of others, from maligning the project further, using the Obama Administration’s Bureau of Land Management to falsely and maliciously misinterpret 100 years of federal right of way rules, attempting to pass Ex Post Facto legislation in Sacramento, and even funding studies that are verifiably and scientifically disproven in an effort to deny thirsty Californians from enjoying clean drinking water in the midst of an ongoing drought.
Opponents attempted to game the federal Bureau of Land Management by requiring Cadiz to submit a National Environmental Quality Act study for a permit to use an existing railroad right of way owned by the Arizona & California Railroad. Opponents leveraged BLM to reinterpret statutory, regulatory, and legal precedent in this effort at the pleasure of Senator Feinstein’s office, in violation of BLM’s own legal opinions, federal law, and 100 years of precedent allowing the use of railroad right of way for numerous purposes, including water pipelines. While opponents were aware that this BLM decision would have been overturned in the courts and cost taxpayers millions of dollars in legal damages, it was yet another effort to delay the Cadiz project at all cost. Fortunately, the new Administration quickly reversed this politically motivated travesty, causing environmental extremists to suffer acute Trump Derangement Syndrome.
Opponents have spread the lie that the use of Cadiz water will dry up water supplies for Mojave Desert flora and fauna, which have been disproven over and over again in studies going back 20 years and upheld in the environmental impact report that, again was reviewed by two California Judges. Additionally, Cadiz has been using their legal water rights for farming in the Mojave Desert for over two decades using billions of gallons of water, with no such issue.
Opponents have claimed that the project threatens national parks and public lands. But the project exists entirely on privately held land and right of ways.
In their most recent attempt at hyperbole and misinformation, opponents have falsely charged that Cadiz water is polluted by chromium 6, a common mineral in many existing water aquifers that supply water to residents. Of course, these critics fail to note that Cadiz’s water has levels of the mineral that are lower than state and federal standards. The water that will be transported to the Colorado River Aqueduct for distribution to Southern California is actually lower in most dissolved solids than the Colorado River water that it will blend with.
The project will create 6,000 jobs with a portion of them guaranteed to military veterans, yet now opponents dismiss this as being irrelevant because we have “full employment these days.” Well, while a full 2 million people have dropped off the food stamp rolls, there are still thousands of people, particularly in San Bernardino County that could use those good paying jobs.
It is becoming very clear to the public that the high-pitched and false narrative of Cadiz critics is now desperate.
Evidence of growing support for the project from organized labor, public water agencies, veterans, and elected leaders has begun to seep into the general public. According to a scientific survey of over 500 San Bernardino County residents, 74 percent of residents now support the Cadiz Water Project, with only 9 percent opposing, an overwhelming 7-1 margin of support. The survey was sponsored by the Building Industry Association, Baldy View Chapter in San Bernardino County and was completed in May.
There is a great deal of concern among the public that much of the news in our country is manipulated. Perhaps the years of deception by opponents of the Cadiz Water Project is contributing to that new understanding.