RIVERSIDE COUNTY, CALIF. – Four water agencies in Riverside County acknowledge Governor Gavin Newsom’s latest strategy for combatting the ongoing effects of drought throughout California with funding for water reliability projects and agree that conservation cannot be the only answer. This strategy shift by the Administration builds on the region’s water providers’ development of collaborative local projects. Due to joint efforts, Rancho California Water District (Rancho Water), Eastern Municipal Water District (EMWD), Western Municipal Water District (Western), and Elsinore Valley Municipal Water District (EVMWD) have been and will continue to invest in projects to maximize local water supply options that will support and benefit the region.
On August 11, 2022, Governor Newsom issued California’s Water Supply Strategy: Adapting to a Hotter, Drier Future (Strategy), a document detailing the long-lasting effects of climate change on the state’s water supply, and outlining strategies and investments that need to be undertaken to support water reliability. Western Riverside County water suppliers stand ready to incorporate funding and take advantage of permit streamlining to advance infrastructure projects that will result in improved water reliability. With water as a top Administrative priority, the Governor can accelerate investment and advance both statewide and local infrastructure projects.
The Strategy is an important move away from the over-reliance on conservation measures. Customers in each agency’s district, as well as throughout the State, have stepped up to conserve water again during another drought that is causing drastic shortages on both the State Water Project and the Colorado River. The time is now for the State to continue making bold investments to stop reoccurring cycles of severe water shortages.
The Administration’s strategy marks progress in creating a dialogue among agencies and water leaders throughout the state. However, this region has undertaken many of these steps for years and the water agencies hope to serve as an example to others throughout California on the benefits of collaboration and the importance of proactive investments in regional water supply projects.
“We all have a part to play in addressing California’s water crisis,” said Robert Grantham, Rancho California Water District General Manager. “To this end, we applaud the state’s policy change, moving beyond conservation as a primary focus, to helping us build transformative water projects. Rancho Water is proud to work with our regional partners to develop local supplies and storage solutions on behalf of our communities.”
“As California continues to face climate-induced challenges that have changed our water supply patterns, it is critical that local agencies continue to invest in projects and programs that help us adapt to the new normal we are facing,” EMWD Board President Phil Paule said. “Investments in programs like our regional water banking efforts, recycled water, and other local water supplies will help us continue to provide a safe and reliable water supply for our growing region.”
EVMWD General Manager Greg Thomas said, “We all accept we live in a state where drought is now a way of life, but it does not need to be a reoccurring crisis. Water recycling, improved conveyance, increased storage and common-sense policies will go a long way in ensuring our people, businesses, community, and environment thrive. We welcome the investment from the State and continue to take steps to maintain and improve local, regional, and statewide sustainability and resiliency.”
Rancho Water, EMWD, Western, and EVMWD leadership and staff have come together in recent years to advance progressive, innovative projects, and it is because of this historic collaboration between agencies that the region is positioned to actively pursue support and funding as it emerges.
Craig Miller, Western Municipal Water District General Manager, concluded, “I look forward to future collaboration with the State, Administration, and local regional partners, to boldly address the three interrelated and critical areas of greater storage, improved conveyance, and regulatory certainty.”
The region’s new water storage project is detailed in a video available on Rancho Water’s YouTube channel. To learn more about urgent statewide water system needs, visit SolveTheWaterCrisis.com. Learn about Western’s drought response at wmwd.com/Drought or EVMWD’s efforts at evmwd.com/drought2022. For more information about California’s water use efficiency programs, visit SaveOurWater.com. Read more about water infrastructure projects happening throughout California at QuenchCA.com.
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About Rancho California Water District:
The mission of Rancho Water is to deliver reliable, high-quality water, wastewater, and reclamation services to its customers and communities in a prudent and sustainable manner. Rancho Water is a local, independent Special District, organized on August 16, 1965, servicing approximately 150 square miles and about 45,000 service connections in Temecula, Murrieta, and parts of unincorporated Riverside County.
About Eastern Municipal Water District:
Eastern Municipal Water District is the water, wastewater service and recycled water provider to nearly one million people living and working within a 558-square mile service area in western Riverside County. It is California’s sixth-largest retail water agency, and its mission is “To deliver value to our diverse customers and the communities we serve by providing safe, reliable, economical and environmentally sustainable water, wastewater and recycled water services.” More information can be found at www.emwd.org.
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 Elsinore Valley Municipal Water District:
EVMWD delivers total water management that powers the health and vibrancy of its communities so life can flourish. It serves 159,000 water and wastewater customers in a 97-square mile service area in Western Riverside County. The District is a sub-agency of the Western Municipal Water District and a sub-member agency of the Metropolitan Water District of Southern California.