Press Release: Cadiz Inc. Announces Agreement for San Bernardino County to assume Water Project enforcement role
County Board of Supervisors Votes to Approve Memorandum of Understanding With Cadiz and Santa Margarita Water District for Project’s Management Plan
Los Angeles — Today Cadiz Inc. [NASDAQ: CDZI] (“Cadiz”), a land and water resource development company with 45,000 acres in California’s San Bernardino County, announced that the County Board of Supervisors voted yesterday to approve a Memorandum of Understanding (MOU) establishing the County’s role in enforcing the groundwater management plan for the Cadiz Valley Water Conservation, Recovery and Storage Project. The Water Project proposes to provide an annual reliable water supply to Southern California communities by capturing and conserving thousands of acre-feet of native groundwater currently being lost to evaporation from the aquifer system beneath the Company’s property in eastern San Bernardino County’s Cadiz Valley. The MOU grants the County full enforcement authority over the Project’s Groundwater Management, Monitoring, and Mitigation Plan (GMMMP), a key component of the Project designed to monitor aquifer conditions and establish measures to protect against impacts to critical desert resources.
The County is a responsible agency in the ongoing California Environmental Quality Act (“CEQA”) review and permitting process for the Project and must regulate groundwater extraction from County aquifers under its Desert Groundwater Management Ordinance (“Ordinance”). As part of the CEQA process, the Project must comply with the Ordinance by either receiving a permit from the County or qualifying for an exemption through implementation of a County-approved management plan. The MOU acted upon yesterday authorizes an exclusion from the Ordinance and establishes a framework for finalizing the GMMMP with the County in the final enforcement role. Additionally, the MOU also reserves up to 20% of the Project’s annual yield for the benefit of water providers in the County for future use under terms and conditions similar to those of other Project participants.
“Establishing the County’s impartial enforcement role over Project operations is a significant step for the Project,” said Cadiz President and General Counsel Scott Slater. “We welcome the decision by the Board of Supervisors to accept the management role to ensure a safe and sustainable Project.”
Once finalized, the GMMMP will set forth guidance criteria for the Project operations through monitoring of aquifer conditions, including groundwater levels, groundwater quality, land subsidence, surface vegetation, air quality, third-party wells and springs, and it will establish a mitigation program in the event of potential undesirable impacts resulting from Project operations. The monitoring will be commenced at least one year before the first production of groundwater from the Project area.
The final GMMMP will be submitted to the County for approval following the release of the Project’s Final Environmental Impact Report (“Final EIR”) by Santa Margarita Water District (“SMWD”), the lead agency of the CEQA process. The Final EIR is expected to be released shortly and submitted for approval to SMWD’s Board after all public comments received on the Draft EIR have been considered. After the Final EIR is released, the County will consider both the Final EIR and the GMMMP and take action to affirm its role. Once the Project is implemented, the County will manage all monitoring and reporting required under the GMMMP and its provisions will also be subject to enforcement by the County.
About Cadiz Inc.
Founded in 1983, Cadiz Inc. is a publicly-held renewable resources company that owns 70 square miles of property with significant water resources and clean energy potential in eastern San Bernardino County, California. The Company is engaged in a combination of water supply and storage and organic farming projects. In 2009 Cadiz adopted a wide-ranging “Green Compact” to implement environmental conservation and sustainable management practices at its properties. For more information about Cadiz, visit www.cadizinc.com