The Cadiz Project could provide a new Southern California water supply by actively managing a groundwater basin that is part of a 1,300-square-mile watershed in eastern San Bernardino County. Water that would otherwise evaporate would be collected and conserved for beneficial use. If approved and put into operation, the project would then convey the conserved water to SMWD and to other Southern California water providers.
A future phase of the project could include the ability to store water underground in the Cadiz aquifer where the water could be used in dry years.
If implemented, the Cadiz Project would diversify SMWD’s water portfolio and help drought-proof the District to ensure its water demands are met regardless of the state’s supply.
SMWD acted as the Lead Agency for the project’s California Environmental Quality Act (CEQA) review process. Under this environmental review, the lead agency evaluates the project and any potential environmental impacts. If alternatives are identified and mitigation measures are necessary, then they must be considered and incorporated prior to approval of the project.
SMWD released the Final Environmental Impact Report (FEIR) on July 13, 2012. After conducting a public hearing on July 25, the SMWD Board certified the FEIR at its special board meeting held on July 31.
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SMWD released the Notice of Preparation of a Draft EIR (NOP) on February 28, 2011. SMWD held two public scoping workshops in March and the public comment period for the NOP document closed March 30, 2011.
SMWD released the Draft Environmental Impact Report (DEIR) on December 5, 2011. A 70-day comment period was provided through February 13, 2012. Although the initial comment period exceeded the minimal time requirements set forth under the CEQA process, SMWD received requests to further extend the comment period. A Notice of Extension was issued by the District announcing a 30-day extension of the public comment period through March 14, 2012. In an effort to help the public access and better understand the contents of the DEIR, SMWD held an informational community workshop on Wednesday, January 11, 2012 at the Joshua Tree Community Center. In addition, two public comment workshops were held to receive comments regarding the scope, content, and analysis provided in the DEIR. The first of two workshops were held on Tuesday, January 24, 2012 at SMWD and the second workshop was held on Wednesday, February 1, 2012 at the Joshua Tree Community Center in San Bernardino County.