The Chaparral

Will the Mojave Desert groundwater be sold?

BY PAUL C. H. VELASCO

CURRENT AFFAIRS EDITOR

FILE – In this Oct. 19, 2011 file photo, Seth Shteir, a California Desert Field Representative for the National Parks Conservation Association, hikes to a natural spring at the Mojave National Preserve near Kelso, Calif. The Trump administration is opening the floodgates for a private company that wants to pump water from under the Mojave Desert and sell it in Southern California. Cadiz Inc. wants to build a 43-mile pipeline from its private Mojave wells to the Colorado River Aqueduct. (AP Photo/Chris Carlson, File)

A policy change within the Trump Administration will allow a company to sell water from a Mojave Desert aquifer.

The Department of the Interior announced that its branch, Bureau of Land Management, will scratch out details that dictate how federal officials evaluate how public lands are used that run along railroads. According to the Desert Sun, the guidelines were rescinded by the administration after 18 members, which included Reps. Tom McClintock (R-Elk Grove), Paul Cook (R-Apple Valley), Tony Cárdenas (D-Los Angeles), Duncan Hunter (R-Alpine) and Jim Costa (D-Fresno), of Congress sent a letter to Interior Secretary Ryan Zinke to reconsider the guidelines.

This will pave the way for a Los Angeles based company called Cadiz Inc to build a 43 mile railroad to Southern California cities to help transport water from the Mojave Desert aquifer. Cadiz Inc. has proposed to pump as much as 16.3 billion gallons of water each year for the next 50 years and sell the water to agencies across Southern California. According to USNews.com, the project will provide water to “400,000 people, has broad bipartisan community support, will generate 5,900 new jobs and will drive nearly $1 billion in economic growth.”

The project still needs to be approved from the Metropolitan Water District in order to move water from the Colorado River Aqueduct to Southern California.

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