New Water Source Offers Less Expensive Water

Our City Council has repeatedly stated that it must have its own water source because water from the Metropolitan Water District (MWD) is subject to conditions in the Sacramento delta, or drought in Colorado, or natural disasters; all of which the council claims “could” curtail the City’s water supply.

But now it appears we may have a new water source with great reliability. This source is the Cadiz Water Project in the California desert.

In October 2012, the San Bernardino County Board of Supervisors approved Cadiz’s plan to pump 50,000 acre-feet of water per year out of this vast water source in the desert near Amboy.

The new water source will supply over 100,000 Southern California households who have contracted to purchase Cadiz water at rates equal to or less than current MWD rates. 

This aquifer is thought to hold more water than Lake Mead (approximately 32 million acre-feet) and has an annual recharge of more than 32,000 acre feet from the nearby mountains. The water and snow fall percolates through the sand and gravel of the desert and is stored in an underground “lake” nearly 1,000 feet deep.

The Cadiz Company plans to drill wells to extract some of the water before it migrates to a dry lake bed where it evaporates into the atmosphere. The Cadiz water will be pumped 44 miles through a pipeline to the Colorado River Aqueduct (CRA) where it will be blended with water from the Colorado River. It will then be delivered to MWD reservoirs in San Bernardino County. This new water source will enhance MWD’s current resources but will be less susceptible to political and drought restrictions.

The Santa Margarita Water District as the lead agency, recently approved the environmental plan (EIR) and the Groundwater Monitoring Plan for the Cadiz Water Project. Santa Margarita has also signed a contract for up to 5,000 acre-feet of water per year at rates less than those currently charged by MWD.

Unless something changes, our City is responsible for a lease payment to the San Juan Basin Authority to pay off bonds used to construct the Ground Water Recovery Plant (GWRP). The City obligated its residents to pay for the GWRP with steeply increased rates, through 2035 when the $33. 5 million bond is paid off.

Our City could choose to sign up with Cadiz if the cost of water proves to be less than MWD water, as Santa Margarita has done. This would bring the cost of water down for San Juan residents. However, that would take some courage and initiative from the City Council. We’ll keep you posted on what, if any, action the council will take.


Anonymous said...

This council need to be recalled. We have lost 360 man-hours on Del Obispo while waiting for vanity projects.
We are losing the traditional charm of Old San Juan while the Council pampers the developers.

Anonymous said...

Our water bill is way too high so its good to see that there's another source that's cheaper. How can the city sign up for this?

Anonymous said...

Will the city sign up for this, is the question? I am a supporter! I took out my lawn in the front and back to eliminate the landscaping water bills, I still pay upwards of $100 a month in this city!

Anonymous said...

Count mine as another voice towards supporting buying water from this new source if it's possible. Our water in san juan is too exppensive.

Anonymous said...

Unfortunately, the article is written to promote an anti-city bias, rather than providing facts.

Cadiz will likely never be completed.

Here is a quote from the article:
"Cadiz has "been dealt what I would consider to be one debilitating blow after another. And they have shown tremendous resilience," said MWD board member Larry Dick. Nonetheless, he added, "my feeling is that none of this is going to be easy, none of it."

Dick and Barbre represent the Municipal Water District of Orange County, which has to sign off on the Cadiz project because it oversees the Metropolitan Water District's imports to Orange County, the location of Cadiz's biggest potential customer, the Santa Margarita Water District.

A looming state standard for hexavalent chromium, a toxic heavy metal that is naturally occurring in the aquifer Cadiz plans to tap, could prompt the MWD to require expensive treatment of the groundwater before it is pumped into the Colorado aqueduct."

A group of residents, apparently like your group from what I can tell, know the damage this project would cause and are fighting it.


to learn the real facts.

Anonymous said...

I visited the website you posted and learned that the petition to stop Cadiz is supported by NPCA, an environmental group. Nothing wrong with wanting to be green; we should all try to be as eco-friendly as possible, but our water rates are sky-high and another source of water is desperately needed.

The water source for San Juan has high concentrates of unhealthy minerals (one of the reasons it is so costly to filter "our own" water), so these kinds of issues will exist when there is high mineral content. Whether we go with MWD water or Cadiz water, one thing is for sure - we need to get out from under the ground water recover plant - it's just way too costly for such a small city and never has produced what it was supposed to - and never will.

Notawaterguy said...

I read about the chromium a possible carcinogen in the link. Did not our City Council make a settlement with Chevron to pump and filter the water even though the water contains MTBE a possible carcinogen? The city had a choice to eliminate all of the MTBE, but they chose not to.

I am not a scientist, but I am guessing that when they mix the chromium with all the other water that the amount of possible carcinogenic chromium will be negligible .

Anonymous said...

Where does it say Cadiz water will be less expensive than ours? The writer didn't cite any links or documents about the cost.

It seems like it will be just as expensive, if not more. Please provide more details about the pricing so we can know whether this will help us.

Anonymous said...

Actually, the website also says this:

Following guidelines for safe water extraction would render the cost of the water from this project so high that it makes no economic sense for the public (at least 45% higher than Cadiz proponents suggest).

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