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Two SoCal agencies launch Santa Ana River Watershed Educational Signage Project
Sixty-four educational signs have recently been erected throughout the Santa Ana River Watershed to increase the public’s knowledge of the watershed and to help people better understand the role it plays in the community. The project is a collaborative effort between the Santa Ana Watershed Project Authority (SAWPA) and the Inland Empire Utilities Agency (IEUA).
Each sign includes a map of the watershed and the location of major cities and water resources such as tributaries, rivers and lakes. They also include messages on important local water resource issues such as groundwater recharge, pollution prevention and the One Water One Watershed Program (OWOW).
OWOW is a comprehensive watershed planning process that has been adopted by numerous agencies throughout the region. The original OWOW began in 2007 when more than representatives of more than 100 agencies in Orange, Riverside, and San Bernardino counties met to discuss the planning framework and develop a shared vision of the watershed. OWOW has become an innovative planning process for the Santa Ana River Watershed that integrates water resources management with various disciplines such as land use planning, flood control, and natural resource management. The watershed is defined by its geopolitical boundary that includes the largest river in Southern California and one of the fastest growing populations in the State. OWOW 2.0 Plan is the second iteration, adopted in 2014. The OWOW 2.0 plan reflects a collaborative planning process that addresses all aspects of water resources in the watershed over a 20-year time horizon.
The Santa Ana River Watershed educational signs have been erected throughout the watershed, including the Inland Empire (Riverside and San Bernardino counties) and northern Orange County. The four-color signs were designed and installed by Bri Communications. The signs can be found at locations such as the Santa Ana River Trail, the Chino Creek Wetlands and Educational Park, Huntington Beach State Park, Forest Falls and the Lake Perris Marina
“Our Commission is very excited about supporting this effort which will show residents of this area where they get their drinking water, and where the water they use ends up,” stated Richard E. Haller, general manager of SAWPA. “Our hope is this demonstrates that they don’t have to travel far to experience the open space and water resources we have here.”
The Santa Ana River Watershed lies in semi-arid southern California, and like many other areas in the state, SAWPA and IEUA are carefully evaluating water supplies and seeking creative, cost-effective strategies to provide reliable water resources for the residents of this watershed. SAWPA and IEUA are supporting this signage project to help educate the approximately 6 million local residents within the watershed’s footprint on the water resources available to them.
“The watershed signage project helps increase community awareness to watershed issues. These signs help the community understand, identify and connect with the Santa Ana River Watershed and many resources it offers,” stated IEUA Board President Steve Elie. “We hope this signage project’s identification and connection will encourage the community to take action in protecting their water resources now and for our future.”