Plan to sell Mojave Desert groundwater inches forward after local approval
Written byBETTINA BOXALL, LA Times/Greenwire
A water board serving southern Orange County, Calif., has issued an environmental approval for a private company to sell Mojave Desert groundwater.
The five-member Santa Margarita Water District board voted unanimously to OK the project's environmental impact report under state law. The board said it would purchase a tenth of the project's proposed annual yield.
"We thought [it] was worth taking the next step to see if it comes to fruition," said board member Charley Wilson, who acknowledged that the project was far from certain.
Indeed, there are still barriers for Cadiz Inc., the private company trying to sell the groundwater. For one, the project still lacks the estimated $225 million to $275 million in funding it will need. It also faces legal difficulties and may still need to receive federal approval.
Cadiz hopes to supply 100,000 homes with its groundwater, selling it at prices that would generate $1 billion to $2 billion in revenue over 50 years.