By Dave Sorem, P.E. ECA Government Affairs Chairman email: [email protected]
There was a lot of noise last month about what President Trump did or didn’t do in the first 100 days of his administration, so you can be forgiven for not noticing something that has taken 9,125 days (so far) and four presidential administrations to gain traction.
The Cadiz Valley Water Conservation, Recovery and Storage Project finally made it to the top ten of federal project lists, now awaiting action from the Department of Interior to allow it to use railroad right of way to start delivering enough water to support 100,000 southern California homes with fresh water.
At its core, this project provides much-needed, reliable water supplies by conserving water that otherwise would have been lost to evaporation. The project also offers the ability to store groundwater supplies and imported surplus water in wet years—something the state hasn’t managed to do even though we passed a $7.5 billion water bond two and a half years ago.
The Engineering Contractors’ Association has been an active supporter of the Cadiz Valley project for more than the last four years (a mere 1,460 days). We’ve gone before local government bodies, visited with state regulators and gone to Washington to drum up support for new water supply.
We support it for lots of reasons
We need the water as demonstrated by our most recent drought. We need the storage for the same reasons.
We support private solutions like Cadiz, which, with an estimated cost of $250 million will not require a dime of federal, state or local taxes to go operational. They will make those costs back by selling the water into our existing distribution systems.
Finally, this project is going to generate nearly 6,000 local construction jobs, which is why ECA works on local efforts such as this.
Not a done deal
Not a done deal Cadiz is awaiting a favorable, and hopefully quick, decision from the Bureau of Land Management (BLM) a sub-agency under new Interior Secretary Ryan Zinke. According to a recent article from the McClatchy newsgroup, the project has completed 95 percent of its permit requirements. This includes state stuff like CEQA, local stuff like EIRs and weathered a series of lawsuits from enviros, so the BLM piece is likely the last of the permissions needed to go forward to construction.
ECA will be there in support of this request and any future impediments, political, legal and bureaucratic, whatever and however long it takes because this is the right thing for our members and our communities.