WASHINGTON - Maite Arce, President and CEO of the Hispanic Access Foundation, released the following statement in response to a new peer-reviewed study that raises serious concerns about the Cadiz Water Project, a plan that would provide water to residents of Los Angeles and Orange counties by pumping groundwater from underneath a national park, national monument and other public lands in the Mojave Desert. For example, the study demonstrates that Bonanza Spring, which is one of the largest springs in the Mojave Desert, is connected to the aquifer from which water would be mined and would lead to significant adverse effects on the ecosystem throughout the region.
"Pumping water from underneath the Mojave Desert will supply less than one percent of the water needed by Californian cities, but the true costs will be exorbitant. This isn't oil - this water is the precious life source for the entire desert region and its absence will lead to the catastrophic, and likely irreversible, collapse of its ecosystem. It'll jeopardize wildlife, habitat and even tourism - let's see who visits when the desert wildflowers don't bloom, and Joshua Trees no longer dot the landscapes.
"Since the late 1990s, the Metropolitan Water District has rejected this project, federal agencies have corrected Cadiz's flawed science and claims of minimal desert ecosystem impact have been continually refuted. And now we have even more evidence - peer-reviewed and published - that support for the Cadiz Water Project is misguided and the science backing it up is flawed. We hope regional decision-makers, including the San Bernardino County Supervisors, will consider this new information and oppose Cadiz's proposed pumping project.
"Water is an ongoing issue in California. From contaminated drinking water in hundreds of California communities to prolonged drought that has the Salton Sea on the verge of initiating a massive health crisis, we understand the desire to develop these resources. But this isn't the solution - the benefit is too little and the costs are too great. It would be like cutting down a Sequoia forest to make a pad of paper."
A Feb. 2018 statewide survey of California voters, commissioned by Hispanic Access Foundation and conducted by David Binder Research, found that by more than a 3 to 1 margin, voters are more likely to agree (67 percent) that pumping will drain the underground water sources, and dry up already scarce desert springs that wildlife need for survival. Only 19 percent agree that this project will create jobs and help ensure a reliable water supply for Southern California.