Washington—Senator Dianne Feinstein (D-Calif.) today released the following statement after the Trump administration took steps to push the Cadiz water project forward without appropriate federal environmental review:
“The Trump administration has once again put corporate profits ahead of the public’s interest. In a blatant attempt to muscle the Cadiz water project through, the administration is completely undermining federal oversight of railroad rights-of-way. This is clearly just an effort to circumvent an environmental review that any project of this magnitude on federal land would normally undergo.
“The detrimental impact this project would have on the California desert is irreversible. Rather than allow a proper environmental review, the Trump administration wants to open the door for a private company to exploit a natural desert aquifer and destroy pristine public land purely for profit. The Cadiz water project embodies the worst elements of the Trump administration.
“The Mojave Desert is a national treasure that belongs to the American people, not a private company. I will fight this latest effort to push the Cadiz water project through without the proper environmental review.”
Scientists have determined that the Cadiz project would draw out up to 10 times more water from the desert aquifer than can be naturally recharged.
Cadiz asserts that the aquifer’s water recharge rate is 32,000 acre feet per year and proposes to export an average of 50,000 acre feet of groundwater from the region each year over a 50-year period.
- However, the U.S. Geological Survey has the recharge rate is less than 5,000 acre feet per year.
- Additionally, the National Park Service believes the groundwater recharge in the basin ranges from 4,650 to 7,750 acre feet per year “at best.”
- In its comments on the Cadiz project’s Draft Environmental Impact Report, the National Park Service concluded that Cadiz’s estimated annual recharge rates “are not reasonable and should not even be considered.”