The common purse: Las Posas / Cadiz

A previous post, Rancho Santa Margarita, Meet Calleguas, hit a hornet’s nest. The decision to write it was little more than an instinct. “Poke there.”  The post referred to something called the “Las Posas Basin Aquifer Storage and Recovery Project,” described by the Los Angeles Times during the project’s inception in the 1990s as “the largest reservoir in Ventura County, ensuring a reliable water supply in cities from Simi Valley to Oxnard in the event of drought or earthquake.”

Las Posas wasn’t big. It was bigger. “The $47-million project near Moorpark will hold more water than Lake Casitas and nearly four times what Lake Piru holds,” reported the Times.

Until it didn’t. When last month the Ventura County Reporter recounted that the capacity proved to not be the much-celebrated 300,000 acre feet, but instead 50,000 acre feet, no villain was named. Who needs a villain when, as the

Rancho Santa Margarita, meet Calleguas

UPDATED 5/11/2012: As the board of the Rancho Santa Margarita Water District wades through the Draft Environmental Impact Report produced for them by their partners at Cadiz, Inc in the bid to involve the Orange County municipal water company in a water mining scheme in the Mojave Desert, let us pause to look at some bona fides of a lead Cadiz consultant. Cadiz engineer Terry Foreman would have Rancho Santa Margarita believe that “using 50,000 acre-feet per year is optimal for conservation” from a basin with recharge that is perhaps one tenth of that, and that mining groundwater poses “no long-term impacts to the desert environment.”

Believe that and you’ll believe in chocolate cake diets, so it seems unlikely that anyone involved in the project really cares about the Mojave. Yet when it comes to cost, the Rancho Santa Margarita Water District board of directors