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Water Supply Alert
Water Alert

August 2009

Western Initiatives Address Critical Water Supply Challenges

Water agencies across California face many challenges in 2009. Because of the Governor’s declared drought emergency and State Water Project reductions, Western Municipal Water District is poised to receive about 20 percent of its normal water allocation this spring. Southern California stands to continue losing up to 30 percent of its Northern California supplies in future years. These conditions have come together to form a “perfect storm” which in turn provide opportunities to work with partner agencies to increase water-use efficiency.



Water Use Efficiency Programs

Western is a long-time leader in water use efficiency. Created out of concern for Southern California's water future, Landscapes Southern California StyleSM is a one-acre water conservation garden located at Western’s headquarters. It features more than 200 plant species in a natural setting that use water-wise irrigation systems. Over 2,000 local residents attended Earth Night in the Garden last April to enjoy live entertainment, participate in hands-on water education and conservation activities, and more! Information about the garden is online at wmwd.com.

On a regional level, the Riverside County Water Task Force was formed specifically to collaboratively tackle water availability issues. Chaired by Western’s General Manager, John V. Rossi, the task force is a consortium of diverse public, private, and quasi-public agencies. More information about the task force can be found online at h2oriversidecounty.org.



One of the most effective ways to get the word out about water-saving practices is through education and sustained messaging. Western and Eastern municipal water districts, along with the family of western Riverside County water agencies joined forces in November ’09 to launch the Water Use It Wisely® conservation campaign, calling for consumers to take steps to use water wisely in and around their homes and businesses.

Western recently partnered with Eastern, Elsinore Valley, and Rancho California Water Districts, Riverside Public Utilities, the City of Corona’s Department of Water & Power, and Inland Empire Utilities Agency, to hold the Western Water-wise Landscape Contest for residential customers. Winners of the contest can be found at westernlandscapecontest.com.

Additional conservation tools include the Water Wise Gardening for the Inland Empire CD being offered free of charge to Western’s residential customers as a way to be more water-wise in their landscape practices.

Increased local water supply

Western has several projects in the works that will diversify our local water supply. A cooperative water wheeling agreement recently signed by Western and the city of Riverside will provide up to 6,000 acre-feet of groundwater per year for Western – roughly 20 percent of the District’s total retail service area demand. The Riverside-Corona Feeder is Western’s hallmark regional water supply project that will provide up to 40,000 acre-feet of water stored in underground basins during wet years for use in dry years. Federal legislation authorizing $26 million for this project was signed by President Obama in March.

The planned Arlington Desalter expansion will increase treatment capacity to produce up to 7,500 acre-feet of drinking water per year (AF/Y). A partnership with the city of Ontario and Jurupa Community Services District to expand the Chino II Desalter will increase regional drinking water supply by 10,600 AF/Y. The Western Water Recycling Facility will increase recycled water treatment capacity to 3 million gallons per day by summer 2010.

Further, Western is pursuing water rights initiatives to secure additional future water supply from regional sources as part of the Seven Oaks Dam project to provide backup water supply by capturing storm water.

These actions all underscore Western’s commitment to continue partnering with local agencies and customers to encourage gains in water efficiency and take necessary steps to ensure and diversify the District’s water supply portfolio.

For more information, contact:

Michele McKinney Underwood, Interim Public Affairs Supervisor, Western Municipal Water District; O: 951.789.5039; M: 951.897.0897; munderwood@wmwd.com.

This newsletter is produced by the:
Metropolitan Water District of Southern California
700 N. Alameda St.
Los Angeles, CA 90012