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KCET Runs Positive Essay on Cadiz Water Project

Following years of spinning negative yarns about the Cadiz Water Project, Los Angeles Public Television Station KCET has welcomed an essay from project proponents. With a column titled, “Conservation and Sustainable Management of Groundwater in Desert is Worthy of Support,” Cadiz VIP Courtney Degener provides a detailed history of the project and rebuttals to common criticisms often lobbed on the KCET site and elsewhere.

The station’s news editors prefaced the column, authored by Cadiz VP Courtney Degener, with an admission:

Over the past few years KCET has run several stories critical of the proposed Cadiz water project. We thought it only fair to offer a representative from Cadiz an opportunity to share that company’s viewpoint.

KCET graciously provided Cadiz 2,000 words to set the record straight, and the resulting piece presents perhaps the best summary yet of the project’s benefits and its scientifically based answers to questions about the project. It starts with this brief but powerful set-up of the Cadiz Water Project’s vision:

Some would have us embrace permanent austerity to address our changing needs, but this strategy is often blind to the cost borne by real people every day who depend on access to reliable water. It is not responsible to our reality of a growing population and a world-leading economy to not also pursue a variety of solutions, including new water supplies and storage, to help address our chronic water supply challenges. California has created a rigorous framework of environmental laws and policies to ensure that if we do pursue such strategies, they will be developed sustainably and in an environmentally benign manner.

It is against this backdrop that in 2009 Cadiz Inc. set the objective of creating, designing, permitting and constructing an environmentally benign water project. Coupled with our holistic land management strategy that already governs our agricultural operations, we set out to provide net environmental benefits. Today, we are nearing completion of these objectives.

The column then gets into all the arguments presented by Project critics, soundly rebutting each with explanations of the scientific process that considered each of those arguments, either disproving them outright (most of the time) or developing mitigations to address them.

It’s a very good read, providing an excellent example of the work, time and dedication required to develop a sound project in today’s California.  The column summarizes that effort in its conclusion:

Nearly a decade ago, Cadiz set out to design a water supply project that is smart, safe and sustainable. With early criticisms in mind, we constrained the size and scope of the Project to protect the environment from harm. Today the Cadiz Water Project offers the potential of a new annual water supply for 400,000 people, new groundwater storage, nearly $1 billion in economic stimulus, over 5,000 jobs and a plan that has been reviewed, approved and upheld by California’s courts. Along the way, in partnership with the San Diego Zoo, we also established the largest desert tortoise conservation bank in California.

As we move ahead to implementing the Project this year, we expect there will be continued debate about our efforts to increase water supply reliability and storage in Southern California. But the Cadiz Water Project has done things the right way, will benefit many, and can be implemented safely. In the end, it’s our hope that will be the story.

Read the article here.

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