Santa Margarita Water District votes to certify Final Environmental Impact Report
Project will create reliable Southern California water supply and local jobs and investment
(August 1, 2012) Los Angeles, CA — Cadiz Inc. (NASDAQ: CDZI) is pleased to announce that the Santa Margarita Water District (“SMWD”) Board of Directors voted unanimously to certify the Final Environmental Impact Report (“Final EIR”) for the Cadiz Valley Water Conservation, Recovery and Storage Project (“Project”) and approve the Project’s Groundwater Management, Monitoring and Mitigation Plan (“GMMMP”) and Purchase and Sale Agreement, which outlines terms for their participation in the Project. These actions follow a nearly 18-month environmental review and represent significant milestones for the Project.
“We are very grateful for the SMWD Board’s decision tonight and their leadership in this process,” said Scott Slater, President and General Council of Cadiz. “We also want to thank the South Orange County and Hi-Desert communities for their support and participation in public comment. As a longtime desert business, we are committed to the protection of desert resources and implementing a safe and sustainable project. We look forward to working with our neighbors as we enter the next phase of the Project and further develop our legacy commitments to the area, including land conservation easements, habitat protection and a steam train and cultural center.”
The Cadiz Project will provide a new, reliable water supply for approximately 100,000 Southern California homes by capturing and conserving groundwater that will otherwise be lost to evaporation from a vast aquifer system beneath our private property owned in California’s Mojave Desert. In its first phase, the Project will deliver up to an average of 50,000 acre-feet per year to Southern California water providers, including SMWD. The Arizona & California Railroad Company, which owns and operates the railroad right-of-way to be used by the Project’s water conveyance pipeline to the Colorado River Aqueduct, is also a Project participant. The ARZC will receive water from the Project to meet critical railroad purposes, including fire suppression.
To safeguard the environment, the Project includes an extensive monitoring and mitigation program that will be independently enforced by the County of San Bernardino and SMWD. All Project facilities, including a wellfield and the conveyance pipeline, will be built on private land and avoid any critical habitat.
The Final EIR for the Project, which evaluated potential for environmental impacts and responded to all comments received during a 100-day public comment period, was issued earlier this month by SMWD. The Final EIR summarized that the Project would not cause significant impacts to critical resources of the desert. A public hearing was held on July 25th to consider certification of the environmental documents and approval of the GMMMP and Purchase and Sale Agreement. The SMWD Board continued its meeting until July 31st to complete deliberations on the Project and then acted to approve the Project and related documents. The Company will now work to complete arrangements with other Project participants, finalize necessary permits in compliance with MWD conditions and move ahead to the construction phase.
The Project has received substantial support from San Bernardino and Orange County organizations and businesses, as well as water experts and industry professionals. Organizations that testified in support of the Project at the July 25 public hearing included South Orange County Chamber of Commerce and Economic Coalition, Association of California Cities-Orange County, Orange County Taxpayers Association, Rancho Santa Margarita Chamber of Commerce, Rancho Cucamonga Chamber of Commerce and the Engineering Contractors Association.
As part of a local outreach campaign, over 2,100 South Orange County residents and SMWD customers signed cards expressing support for SMWD’s efforts to improve water supply reliability and evaluate the Project. Nearly 500 support cards from the Hi-Desert region of San Bernardino County, which is local to the Project area, were also received.
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 the development of water supply and storage projects and operates an organic farm in the Cadiz Valley. 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.
This release contains forward-looking statements that are subject to significant risks and uncertainties, including statements related to the future operating and financial performance of the Company and the financing activities of the Company. Although the Company believes that the expectations reflected in our forward-looking statements are reasonable, it can give no assurance that such expectations will prove to be correct. Factors that could cause actual results or events to differ materially from those reflected in the Company’s forward-looking statements include the Company’s ability to maximize value for Cadiz land and water resources, the Company’s ability to obtain new financing as needed, the receipt of permits for the water project and other factors and considerations detailed in the Company’s Securities and Exchange Commission filings.