Minutes from April 21, 2015-Cadiz Valley Water Conservation, Recovery and Storage Project

Tuesday, April 21, 2015

Open Board of Directors Meeting

San Bernardino Community College District

114 S. Del Rosa Drive

San Bernardino, CA 92408



Present: Carole Beswick, Tom Brickley, Ann Bryan, Scott Davis, Jill Eaton, Louis Goodwin, Scott Hofferber, Matthew Isaac,  Jay Jimenez, Erik Johnson, Mark Kaenel, Al Karnig, Lowell King, Pam Langford, John Mirau, Lou Monville, Dan Murphy, Frank Schnetz, Paul Shimoff  and Phil Waller


Announcements:  1) Carole Beswick reported on a dinner meeting with representatives of both Riverside and San Bernardino counties. The discussion was about “upping our game” in the region when it comes to attracting new business. 2) The dinner with the Chair of the California Energy Commission will occur tonight at the University of Redlands Alumni House. 3) Ann Bryan announced a raffle to benefit the Redlands Symphony.


M/S/P:  Minutes from April 14, 2015.


Ballots were distributed for vote on returning member Bogh Construction. Unanimous approval.


Tom Brickley introduced Laer Pearce to discuss the Cadiz Valley Water Conservation, Recovery and Storage Project.


The severity of the California drought makes a project such as this timely and valuable. Our region is facing 20% to 36% cutbacks in water use.


Cadiz is a publically owned company. They own 45,000 acres with water rights in three San Bernardino County locations. They have been doing organic farming in the desert for 20 years on the site of the project.


The region in question is the Fenner Valley and Orange Blossom Wash watersheds, convering an area of 1,300 square miles; about the size of Rhode Island. Approximately 20 million acre feet of water is stored in alluvial aquifers. The annual recharge is 32,500 acre feet per year. Water flows from the Fenner Watershed to dry lakes, where it becomes highly saline. This project would intercept and conserve the water before reaching the dry lakes. An added benefit would be the saving of water from evaporation.


The Arizona and California Railway right of way between Cadiz and Rice would be the line along which pipes would be laid. There are long-range plans to reuse these tracks with steam engine powered trains for Mojave tourism. The trestle bridges along the route would have fire suppression which could be tapped into for fighting  wild fires.


Cadiz has been working on this project for many years. There was a need for more advanced science work to have complete data. $10 million was spent on his effort and resulted in several reports. It is important not to deplete the aquifer, and this research should address this concern.


The County of San Bernardino would operate a Groundwater Management Plan which would include monitoring and control of the pumps.


Phase 1 participants are Santa Margarita Water District in Orange County which has no direct source of water and has 155,000 customers, along with the San Luis Water District in the Central Valley, which is composed of agricultural users.


Capital costs for the project are $500 million. The economic benefit is more $878 million. 50% of all new construction jobs must go to San Bernardino County residents; 80% of the materials used in the job must come from San Bernardino County business, including steel, pipe and well drilling supplies.


20% of the water from the project is reserved for San Bernardino County, enough to serve about 20 thousand families. There will also be a one-time set aside for the County of 25 thousand acre feet..


Phase 2 of the project will focus on storage.


This is the most shovel ready water project in the state. The project enjoys broad support and Mr. Pearce asks for support from Inland Action.


A Q & A session followed.


The meeting adjourned at 8:30 am.