Today Santa Margarita Water District (“SMWD”) and Cadiz Inc. (NASDAQ:CDZI) (“Cadiz”) announced the formation of a 13-member Groundwater Stewardship Committee (“GSC”) comprised of leading experts who will guide the design of an operating plan and mitigation and monitoring program for the Cadiz Valley Groundwater Conservation, Recovery and Storage Project (“the Project”). SMWD is serving as the lead agency of the California Environmental Quality Act (“CEQA”) review for the Project, which proposes to provide a new, reliable water supply for SMWD and other Southern California communities by capturing and conserving thousands of acre-feet of native groundwater currently being lost to evaporation from an aquifer system located beneath Cadiz’s property in California’s Mojave Desert. The operating plan and monitoring program will ensure that the Project is both sustainable and not harmful to the desert and watershed environment.
Members of the GSC have been drawn from various sectors and include members of regulatory institutions, non-governmental organizations, academia, and the professional groundwater industry, all with extensive experience on similar projects. SMWD has named Charles Groat, former head of the U.S. Geological Survey (USGS) and a Ph.D. in Geological Sciences, as its representative on the panel. The GSC is being chaired by Dr. Jack Sharp, Dave P. Carlton Centennial Professor of Geology at the University of Texas.
“I am pleased to lead the Groundwater Stewardship Committee,” said Dr. Sharp. “For over 18 months I have been engaged in the comprehensive study of the aquifer system at the Project area, and I am confident that the GSC will help ensure the safe, sustainable operation of the Project.”
“The Cadiz Valley Water Project represents a unique opportunity to conserve groundwater presently lost to evaporation and provide for the future storage of imported water. We are honored that this best-in-class panel of expert advisors have agreed to help us ensure that the Project is designed, independently peer-reviewed and managed according to the best groundwater management practices and without harm to the surrounding environment,” said John Schatz, General Manager of SMWD.