Trump transition’s infrastructure priority list includes So. Cal’s Cadiz Water Conveyance Project

By California Water News Daily on January 28, 2017

According to documents obtained by McClatchy’s Kansas City Star and The News Tribune (Tacoma, WA) President Trump’s transition team reportedly compiled a list of 50 potential infrastructure projects across the country that could be targeted in his campaign-promised proposal to update the country’s aging infrastructure. Included in the list is Southern California’s Cadiz Valley Water Conservation, Recovery and Storage Project in the Mojave Desert.

The National Governors Association (NGA) was asked by the Trump transition team in early December to begin compiling “shovel-ready” projects from each state in order to develop a list that then president-elect’s Trump’s team could begin evaluating. According to the Star, more than 300 projects have been submitted and more are expected.

President Trump has repeatedly promised to repair the country’s deteriorating infrastructure — roads, bridges, airports and other public service systems, and it appears that his transition team was also engaged in identifying projects. Its leaked priority list, “Emergency & National Security Projects” document, identifies 50 projects and includes cost estimates, job impact numbers and the current status of each project. Both lists are purported working drafts and all but two projects on are both lists.

Projects on the Trump list in addition to the Cadiz Water Conveyance Project include a wind farm in Wyoming, the NextGen Air Traffic Control System, a national research lab for infrastructure, and the Huntington Beach Desalination Plant. Cost estimated of the projects on the preliminary list referenced in the Star report totals more than $137.5 billion

The Cadiz Water Project was approved in 2012 to deliver a new, reliable water supply to approximately 100,000 homes a year.  The project has been developed by Cadiz Inc. as a public-private partnership with the Santa Margarita Water District (SMWD) and other water agencies in Southern California.  SMWD serves homes and businesses in southern Orange County, but water from the project is expected to be delivered to users across six southern California counties and twenty percent of the water has been reserved for water agencies in San Bernardino County.

Water flowing beneath Cadiz’s property in California’s Mojave Desert is currently being lost to evaporation and salt contamination at nearby dry lakes. Project proponents believe that with active management of the aquifer system and by employing a state-of-the-art groundwater protection program, the project will reduce the loss of groundwater to evaporation.  This water could be of beneficial use in parched areas of the state and create a reliable water supply for Southern California.

“We are appreciative of the inclusion on any list of priority infrastructure projects,” said Scott Slater, Cadiz CEO.  “We are ready to bring reliable water to Southern California and put people to work.”

Currently, the Cadiz water conveyance project is listed at number 15 on the administration’s “Emergency & National Security Projects” document.  It lists the project as a $250 million undertaking with private funding.  The project status indicates that engineering work is completed and 95 percent of permitting has occurred.  According to the Cadiz Inc. website, the project is expected to create and support 5,900 jobs over two phases of construction.

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