Agencies call on State to expand drought solutions
As California experiences another year of drought and extreme heat, residents and businesses may be asking how their communities ensure they have enough water for today and into the future. For two inland Southern California water agencies, responsible groundwater management is a piece of the puzzle.
On August 1, 2022, the 51st annual watermaster report was filed with the Court, crossing a significant milestone in this effective working relationship between Western Municipal Water District (Western) and the San Bernardino Valley Municipal Water District (Valley District). The Court appointed the two agencies a shared role of Watermaster following a legal settlement of water rights in 1969. Western represents the Riverside County entities and Valley District represents the San Bernardino County entities who pump water from these basins.
“Together with our partners at Western, we maximize our groundwater storage through cooperative agreements and projects,” commented Heather Dyer, CEO/General Manager at Valley District. “Thanks to this partnership, we have been able to capture water in wet years for use in dry years, like this one, by storing it in our groundwater basins.”
For more than 50 years, Western and Valley District have collaborated to manage local water resources as well as implement projects and programs that provide water to the region’s residents and businesses while also supporting habitat for species dependent on the Santa Ana River and its tributaries. These groundwater basins are a critical source of supply for these two agencies, who collectively serve nearly two million people across Riverside and San Bernardino counties.
“In a state like California where every drop of water is precious, cooperative management is essential,” commented Paul Kielhold, Valley District Board President. “Fifty years of cooperative groundwater basin management is no small feat and I’m pleased our region is leading by example.”
The most recent report shows that although the watershed has experienced multiple years of drought, the basins are managed in a way that will provide water resources for the long term. In fact, for the calendar year 2021, demand was down 15 billion gallons and has been down for the past 5 years saving a total of 79.6 billion gallons. The reduced demand is largely due to our residents using water more efficiently.
“We want to thank all the residents in our region for reducing their water demand and keeping it down,” added Craig Miller, General Manager at Western. “While supporting access to local water resources is an important step in reducing our dependence on imported water, it is just one piece of the big picture strategy. Water managers across the region are coming together to educate legislators on the need for bold water solutions and increased infrastructure investments.”
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About Western Municipal Water District
Western Municipal Water District is one of the largest public agencies in Riverside County, providing water and wastewater (sewer) services to nearly a million people, both retail and wholesale customers who live, work, and play within 527-square miles in one of California’s most populous regions. Learn more: wmwd.com.
About San Bernardino Valley Municipal Water District
Valley District is a State Water contractor that provides supplemental water to over 15 retail water providers from Fontana to Yucaipa, meeting the supplemental water needs of 710,000 people and the environment. Valley District is responsible for long-range water planning and investments throughout its 352 square mile service area. Learn more at www.sbvmwd.com.