The Latest Science
Ensuring that the Project operates sustainably and responsibly is our top priority. Beginning in 2009, we invested in new science and technical work to evaluate the water resources at the Project area and ensure that the Project would be built and operated without harm to the surrounding environment.
Over 18 months, the internationally respected environmental firm CH2M HILL conducted a comprehensive, study measuring the vast scale and recharge rate of the aquifer system at the Project area. The study describes a system with a volume of water in storage comparable to Lake Mead, the nation’s largest surface reservoir, and a significant supply of annual recharge.
This and subsequent studies found that the aquifer system beneath our Cadiz Valley property consists principally of an alluvial, carbonate, and crystalline aquifer; more specifically, gravel-like alluvium, highly permeable dissolved-limestone carbonate rock, and fractured granitic, metamorphic, and volcanic crystalline rock. The porous and cavernous nature of this rock contributes significantly to the productivity of the aquifer system.
CH2M HILL’s analysis found 17-34 million acre-feet of water are in storage in the alluvium (1 acre-foot = 326,000 gallons) and subsequent study and analysis has shown that there could be an additional 7 million acre-feet coursing through the carbonate and crystalline rock layers.
CH2M HILL’s study was peer-reviewed by leading hydrology experts, and the results were corroborated by extensive field research and pump testing.
Major findings of the new studies include:
- Estimate of 17-34 million acre-feet of groundwater in alluvial aquifer system alone and even newer studies show that there could be another 7 million acre-feet flowing through the carbonate and crystalline rock (1 acre-foot = 326,000 gallons);
- According to CH2M Hill, application of the latest 2008 USGS computer model (INFIL3.0) results in water recharge rate estimates of, on average, approximately 32,000 acre-feet per year;
- Character of the underlying carbonate and crystalline units greatly contributes to productivity of groundwater basin;
- Freshly collected field data corroborates watershed model results; and
- Significant, recharging groundwater resource can be conserved so that it is not lost to evaporation.
To view a video about the science of the aquifer system, click here.
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