Salinity Coalition honors Eastern Municipal Water District’s Ron Sullivan with “Salt of the Earth” Award

By on March 8, 2018

The Multi-State Salinity Coalition (MSSC) recently awarded Eastern Municipal Water District (EMWD) Board Member Ron Sullivan with the “Salt of the Earth” award for his longstanding leadership in water desalination. Sullivan has been a longtime advocate for EMWD’s desalination program.

“I would first like to express my appreciation to the Salinity Coalition for this honor,” Sullivan said. “Groundwater desalination has become an important piece of the water supply in EMWD’s service area, and my colleagues on the Board and our staff have innovated to expand that program to meet the needs of our customers.”

Sullivan represents EMWD’s Menifee and Perris areas in Riverside County which, in addition to the Lakeview and Nuevo areas, have a groundwater basin with a high salt content rendering it unusable. In 2002, EMWD launched its desalination program to make use of the water supply and to protect adjacent basins from salt intrusion. Subsequently EMWD now owns and operates two groundwater desalination facilities that help export more than 25,000 tons of salt annually from EMWD’s service area.

Sullivan has been a longtime advocate for EMWD’s desalination program, which accounts for approximately five percent of EMWD’s annual water supply portfolio. For nearly two decades, EMWD’s desalination program has expanded to include the two desalination facilities, 14 wells and additional pipelines to produce clean drinking water. The district is now in the design stages of a third desalination facility that will further increase capacity. Salt captured for the desalination facilities is exported through a regional brine line managed by the Santa Ana Watershed Project Authority (SAWPA).

Sullivan is also a current board member with SAWPA. Additionally, he has been a long-time advocate for research and development to advance innovative salt management technologies in partnership with the U.S. Bureau of Reclamation.

Construction of EMWD’s two new groundwater desalination wells were recently completed by the U.S. Army Corps of Engineers. The Corps is now working to complete a third desalination well for EMWD. The wells – funded in large part by an Environmental Infrastructure appropriation through the Water Resources Development Act – will be granted to EMWD.