The Santa Margarita Water District board will continue its review of the proposed Cadiz Valley Water Conservation, Recovery and Storage Project (Cadiz Project), scheduling a follow-up special board meeting for at 6 p.m. Tuesday at the Norman P. Murray Community and Senior Center in Mission Viejo.

A public hearing was held Wednesday night at both Copper Mountain College in Joshua Tree and the Murray Center as part of the review of the proposed project's final environmental impact report.

The Santa Margarita Water District is the lead agency for the environmental review of the project, which would provide a new supplemental Southern California supply of water for itself and several other water agencies in Southern California.

Cadiz Inc., which has a Los Angeles office, and the Santa Margarita Water District in Rancho Santa Margarita in south Orange County, propose to build a 43-mile pipeline that would divert surplus groundwater from San Bernardino County's Fenner Valley, about 40 miles northeast of Twentynine Palms and south of the Mojave National Preserve, to the Colorado River Aqueduct.

From there it could be delivered to its customers.

Tetra Technologies Inc., mining company based in The Woodlands, Texas, has filed a lawsuit in San Bernardino County Superior Court alleging that the county should not have ceded lead agency status to the Santa Margarita Water District and also made an error in determining that the project's memorandum of understanding was not subject to environmental review under the California Environmental Quality Act, or CEQA.


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"In short, the entire CEQA process was reduced to a sham exercise that significantly misled the public," the lawsuit alleges.

Tetra has also taken legal action against the Santa Margarita Water District, the second largest retail water agency in Orange County. It provides water and wastewater treatment services to more than 155,000 customers in Mission Viejo, Rancho Santa Margarita, Las Flores, Ladera Ranch and Talega.


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