The original article was reported by Noaki Schwartz and Garance Burke of the Associated Press.
In the Mojave Desert east of Needles, Ca. in San Bernardo County is a place called Cadiz, Ca. It seems more like a location for a Clint Eastwood western as it is a desolate dry hot desert, but there maybe an oasis of water here just south of route 66. According to reports this oasis has tall green trees with lemons, and grape vines awaiting harvest.
A private water company indicates beneath the 35,000 acres Cadiz ranch is an aquifer with enough water for 400,000 homes. They indicate that this water comes originally from springs above in the Desert Mountains and settles in Cadiz and eventually resurfaces in dusty lake beds dozens of miles away where it evaporates in the hot desert.
A proposal to tap this water supply was rejected several years ago, but their new plan is to drill thirty four wells, and then pipe the water along the railroad line that currently exits.
Environmentalists say that this will impact the desert tortoise, bighorn sheep, Joshua trees and other plants and animals. Conversationalists say the aquifer is not as large as the company indicates, and even others say removing so much water annually will not allow the aquifer to recharge itself with limited annual rainfall. The debate will continue, but to us if the water is simply evaporating then a balance between man and nature maybe able to be made. Former Gov. Arnold Schwarzenegger has called the proposal "a path-breaking, new, sustainable groundwater conservation and storage project," when the prior proposal was made years ago.
According to the Associated Press, since 2010, the Santa Margarita Water District, Three Valleys Water District, Golden State Water Company, Suburban Water Systems and Jurupa Community Services District entered into agreements with Cadiz to receive water. These agencies supply water to parts of Los Angeles County, Orange County, Riverside County and eastern San Gabriel Valley.
Now 400,000 homes will only serve a fraction of the water needs of Southern California, but it is enough to serve Lancaster and Palmdale, Ca. or Victorville’s current populations. We will see if the recent proposal will gather enough steam to flow water down to the Antelope Valley and onto farmland and homes instead of evaporating into dry air. Certainly, a future water solution will allow the High Desert areas to grow much like Arizona has.