Washington—In a letter to Senator Dianne Feinstein (D-Calif.), the U.S. Geological Survey reaffirmed that the natural recharge rate for the desert aquifer the Cadiz water extraction project wants to drain is between 2,000 and 10,000 acre-feet per year, far below Cadiz’s claim that the recharge rate is 32,000 acre-feet per year.
“The scientific review by the impartial U.S. Geological Survey shows that Cadiz is unsustainable and would extract far more water from the desert aquifer than can be replenished,” said Senator Feinstein. “This aquifer supports iconic desert wildlife, like the endangered bighorn sheep and desert tortoises, and striking vegetation, like the Joshua trees and spring wildflowers. Based on the independent study by the USGS, it’s clear that Cadiz would quickly drain the aquifer, destroying all of the desert life it supports.”
In 2000, the USGS found that the natural recharge rate of the aquifer is between 2,000 and 10,000 acre-feet per year. That position was reaffirmed in the recent letter to Senator Feinstein.
“We are not aware of new information that would change our recharge estimates,” the federal agency wrote.
Cadiz plans to drain more than 50,000 acre-feet of water every year, far exceeding the aquifer’s natural refill rate.
Click to read the full text of the letter.