California and the Western U.S. are facing a new reality due to climate change which has created challenges in capturing, storing, and delivering access to clean water.
- Weather patterns are unpredictable and extreme – we face challenges with both severe droughts, and flooding with atmospheric rivers
- Groundwater is depleting and inadequate storage allows floodwaters to flow into the ocean
- Existing reservoirs were designed to capture predictable snowmelt, climate change is reducing snowpacks and increasing evaporation which has altered the location, form and volume of water supply
- Infrastructure is failing in many places as extreme weather stresses levees, canals, dams and reservoirs
- “Aridification” is leading to reduced amounts of traditional water supplyAs groundwater is depleted, the remaining water concentrates pollutants, leading to a recognized public health emergency.
At Cadiz, our ranch in the Mojave Desert sits over an enormous underground water basin that can be managed to help fill this gap in water supply with 50,000 acre-feet of water every year over the next fifty years – enough for 400,000 people.
Filling the Gap
The Cadiz aquifer holds 17-34 million acre-feet of freshwater in storage, greater than the full capacity of Lake Mead – American’s largest surface reservoir. The aquifer naturally formed over millions of years, as water percolated down from surrounding mountains and funneled slowly pushed by gravity through the layers of rocks deep below the surface. That percolation has continued, naturally recharging the system every year. Cadiz is located just above the bottom of the valley, where water flows into the aquifer and eventually to terminus into salty dry lakes where it is lost to evaporation. Cadiz has the capability to reverse the flow of water and save this water from evaporation, repurposing it for beneficial use.
Following extensive environmental review and study, our local County adopted a sustainable yield plan for our aquifer and granted permits to capture 2.5 million acre-feet of water over fifty years for uses off-property where it can be used by communities. Under this plan, Cadiz is able to utilize a well system to create hydraulic control in the aquifer system, successfully conserving and repurposing water that would otherwise be lost to evaporation.
To ensure sustainability of the supply, Cadiz and its public agency partners must implement and follow the comprehensive Groundwater Management, Monitoring, and Mitigation Plan. The GMMMP includes dozens of features with adaptive management features that monitor for any unexpected impacts, including to the surrounding environment. We are confident our sustainable yield plan will ensure our supply is responsibly sourced and reliable long-term.
We bring over thirty years of data and experience utilizing a portion of our groundwater supply for sustainable agriculture at the Cadiz Ranch without impact to the aquifers water levels. This extensive historical data informs our understanding of the aquifer system and its ability to support deliveries to communities in need.