Western Municipal Water District Acquires Its First-Ever Groundwater Right

By on August 1, 2019

Western Municipal Water District (WMWD) announced earlier this week that it has acquired nearly 23,000 shares of common stock in the Meeks and Daley Water Company (M&D), a private individual shareholder. This purchase will further ensure WMWD’s long-term water reliability and is the water district’s first-ever groundwater right in the San Bernardino Basin.

“The acquisition of M&D water is part of Western’s ongoing plan to decrease dependence on imported water, expand affordable local water supplies, and ensure long-term water reliability for our 25,000 residential and business customers,” said General Manager Craig Miller.

Under a 1969 Court Judgment, the purchase of the groundwater rights will continue without end. Shares from M&D will bring Western’s customers more than 226 acre-feet of affordable local water annually, which is enough water to meet the yearly indoor needs of more than 800 families of four.

The new M&D water-rights purchase will save WMWD’s customers nearly $3 million over the next 20 years versus the more costly water imported from the Sacramento-San Joaquin Delta in Northern California via the State Water Project. Additionally, the new water-right acquisition supports WMWD’s strategy to increase local water resources and to keep rates as low as possible. Equally important, the M&D purchase helps to ensures a steady water service under California’s challenging conditions of droughts, climate change effects, natural disasters and state emergencies.

A 2017 water wheeling agreement was executed between WMWD and Riverside Public Utilities (RPU). The agreement will now be used to extract and transport the M&D water through RPU wells and pipelines into WMWD’s water system. This is a mutually beneficial agreement for WMWD and RPU. WMWD will pay for all costs associated with transporting the newly acquired supply through RPU system and RPU is assured a new, additional source of revenue to improve their long-term rate stability.

“We see ourselves as more of a business than a bureaucracy, which is why we work tirelessly to ensure operations are as cost-efficient as possible,” said Miller.  “Securing these rights is a testament to our work in securing local water sources to benefit customers.

The benefits for WMWD’s customers is not just the assurance of a new water supply. The M&D water-rights purchase will save WMWD’s customers nearly $3 million over the next 20 years compared with the cost of water imported from the Sacramento-San Joaquin Delta via the State Water Project.