Unit to Focus on Water Resources in the Middle East
Bruce Babbitt, former United States Secretary of the Interior in the Clinton administration and former Governor of Arizona, has joined Cadiz Inc., a water development and agricultural resources company, to build a new subsidiary company. Babbitt will serve as the subsidiary's chairman and chief executive officer. The new company will provide an array of innovative business solutions to the significant water problems facing the Middle East. Through this new venture, Cadiz intends to build a diversified water business through both direct investment and the provision of economic, technical and management services.
"Bruce Babbitt's extensive environmental experience and keen understanding of political sensitivities associated with natural resource projects will be vital to our strategic initiatives in the Middle East. We are honored Bruce chose to join Cadiz in building this exciting new international business," Keith Brackpool, chairman and chief executive officer of Cadiz, said.
The new company will target opportunities in the Middle East because of the region's growing need for managed water resources, sound environmental planning, effective conservation of water resources and the growing need for renewable water resources proportionate to the growing population and the burgeoning agricultural system.
"The Middle East is an arid environment, very similar to parts of California, with significant water and agricultural needs that Cadiz, through its work in the Western United States, is well positioned to address," Babbitt said. "We will bring to the international arena an acute awareness and expertise in balancing environmental challenges with the need for long-term solutions in water resource management."
The new subsidiary will build on Cadiz's experience in water and agricultural development in the Middle East. In 1999, Cadiz, through its subsidiary Sun World International, Inc., was appointed by His Royal Highness Prince Alwaleed Bin Talal Bin Abdulaziz Alsaud's Kingdom Agricultural Development Company (KADCO) to develop and manage one of the world's largest planned agricultural and water developments located in southern Egypt, known as the Tushka Project. The Tushka Project site is part of the South Valley Project that includes construction of a 43-mile canal diverting water from Lake Nassar, the reservoir formed on the Nile River by the Aswan High Dam, to four separate parcels of land. The Egyptian government ultimately plans to irrigate more than 500,000 acres of desert land to foster urban and agricultural development. On January 16, 2002, Cadiz announced that it signed a letter of agreement in principle with KADCO to merge its business with Sun World. Cadiz would continue to own 50.25 percent of the combined entity and KADCO would have a 49.75 percent interest.
Babbitt served as Secretary of the Interior of the United States from 1993 to 2001. In that position he oversaw the operation of the Bureau of Reclamation which operates the major irrigation infrastructure in the western states, including Hoover Dam and the other dams on the Colorado River; the Central Valley Project in California; the Central Arizona Project; and numerous others. In his time as Secretary, Mr. Babbitt helped produce the first integrated statewide water plan for the State of California. He directed and implemented a settlement of interstate water disputes on the Colorado River, and served as the lead for the Clinton administration in the restoration of the Florida Everglades.
Babbitt served as Governor of Arizona from 1978 to 1987 and as Arizona's Attorney General from 1975 to 1978. As Governor, Mr. Babbitt negotiated and implemented the Arizona Groundwater Management Act of 1980, legislation that remains the national model for management of underground water resources.