Cadiz Inc. and the Santa Margarita Water District, based in Rancho Santa Margarita in south Orange County, propose to build a 43-mile pipeline that would divert surplus groundwater from the Fenner Valley, about 40 miles northeast of Twentynine Palms and south of the Mojave National Preserve, to the Colorado River Aqueduct over a 50-year period.
The stored groundwater would then be sold to other water agencies for municipal and industrial use.
The project has already triggered two lawsuits.
In June, Delaware Tetra Technologies Inc. sued the county, the Santa Margarita Water District and Cadiz, Inc., alleging, among other things, that the project would sap the groundwater from the Bristol and Cadiz dry lake beds, which the company's brine mining facility depends, and shutter its mining operation.
In August, the National Parks Conservation Association, Center for Biological Diversity, Sierra Club, and San Bernardino Valley Audubon Society filed a lawsuit in San Bernardino County superior court, challenging the project.
Opponents of the project allege Cadiz is overestimating the amount of natural precipitation recharging the groundwater basins in the Bristol and Fenner valleys and that springs within the Mojave National Preserve link to the aquifers and could be jeopardized should the project move forward.
The public hearing begins at 10 a.m. Monday in the board chambers, located on the first floor of the San Bernardino County Government Center, 385 N. Arrowhead Ave., San Bernardino.
Reach Joe via email, call him at 909-386-3874, or find him on Twitter @SBCountyNow.