Cadiz Plan Threatens Desert Wildlife and South Bay Drinking Water

By John Monsen, Angeles Chapter Water Committee

Cadiz, Inc. is a corporate water speculator proposing one of the most destructive projects ever conceived for our Southern California deserts. Defying logic and ignoring the damage it would cause, Cadiz plans to mine water from under magnificent public land in the Mojave Trails National Monument. They plan to build a pipeline and sell the water to water districts like West Basin MWD that serves the South Bay and Palos Verdes. The Cadiz water is polluted with Chromium 6, a carcinogen,

and it is very expensive, which would drive up water rates. The ultimate failing of the Cadiz scheme is that it will remove much more water than meager desert rainfall can replace, drying up desert springs on which magnificent species such as the desert bighorn sheep depend.

Cadiz owns 34,000 acres of land the Cadiz Valley that is surrounded by the vast Mojave Trails National Monument established by President Obama in 2016. The Cadiz land and the monument feature a large groundwater aquifer that dates back 15,000 years to the last Ice Age.

Removing 16 billion gallons of water each year as Cadiz proposes would lower the level of groundwater under Mojave Trails. Even Cadiz admits this, claiming it would do no harm. But for the last 20 years independent scientists (ones not paid by Cadiz) have said Cadiz is wrong.

Since Cadiz water contains high levels of Chromium 6 the company will very likely be required to reduce the level of Chromium 6 before it reaches your tap and becomes your drinking water. Cadiz is already among the most expensive water sources available and there are no inexpensive ways to remove Chromium 6. This will drive up the Cadiz water price tag, and the costs would be passed on to West Basin rate payers.

Rather than turning to Cadiz, we want to urge West Basin to expand its more environmentally friendly water recycling efforts and focus on storm water recapture and other alternative local water sources. Additional conservation opportunities exist such as landscaping, which uses over half of the water West Basin provides its customers.

We need your help in these efforts! If you would like to learn more about how you can help and receive regular updates on our efforts, contact John Monsen at

John Monsen received the Angeles Chapter’s Extraordinary Achievement Award in 2017 partly for helping to establish the San Gabriel Mountains National Monument. He helped lead Sierra Club efforts to counter Trump Administration assaults on Southern California national monuments.

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