Inland Empire Utilities Agency receives $5.2 million from Reclamation’s WaterSMART Title XVI program

By on May 24, 2017

Inland Empire Utilities Agency (IEUA) has announced that it will be using a $5.2 million grant from the Bureau of Reclamation to help fund the Chino Desalter Phase 3 Expansion of the Lower Chino Dairy Area Desalination and Reclamation Project. The project will improve the quality of both the groundwater and surface water in the Chino Basin by removing salts, nitrates and other volatile organic compounds.

The Inland Empire-based IEUA is one of six California projects to receive almost $21 million of $23 million that the Bureau of Reclamation has awarded for their WaterSMART Title XVI Water Reclamation and Reuse program. The program is the U.S. Department of the Interior’s sustainable water initiative.

“The $5.2 million grant will be used to help ensure the long-term availability of clean water for our communities. As southern California and the Inland Empire continue to struggle with ongoing cycles of drought, projects like this one are essential to securing our future water supply,” said IEUA Board President Steve Elie. “We are proud of our track record of being good stewards of public dollars, and look forward to continuing our work with the Bureau of Reclamation.”

The Chino Desalter Phase 3 Expansion will help protect downstream water supplies and ecosystems by significantly reducing the flow of degraded water into the Santa Ana River. The expansion is expected to create 10,600 acre feet of additional drinkable water per year. One acre foot is regarded as meeting the annual needs of two California families with four family members. The project will decrease the need to import water into the area from the State Water Project.

California Congressman Ken Calvert (R-42nd District-Corona) was instrumental is obtaining congressional authorization for the project. The 42nd District encompasses the western edge of Riverside County but does not include IEUA’s service area.

“The Inland Empire Utilities Agency continues to take important, forward-looking steps to ensure its ratepayers have access to a reliable and affordable water supply. The resources being provided by the Bureau of Reclamation are a valuable investment in our region’s infrastructure,” said Congressman Calvert. The Inland Empire Utilities Agency and their partner agencies should be applauded for their regional approach to tackling the water challenges of today and the future.”

All five of IEUA’s congressional delegation backed the agency’s effort to apply for and receive the Title XVI funds. Additionally, they have been supportive of IEUA’s efforts to alleviate water shortage issues in the agency’s service area and in seeking other federal grants toward the same.

“This latest drought was a sobering reminder of the impact a strain on our water supply can have on our economy and day-to-day lives. We must invest in our water infrastructure so that our communities are better prepared to weather the inevitable next drought or other pressures on our water resources,” said Congresswoman Norma J. Torres (D-35th District-Ontario). “I am thrilled to see IEUA receive this funding, because projects like this help ensure a clean, environmentally sustainable water source for our region for generations to come.”

“I’m glad to see the IEUA gain access to critical funds that will help fortify our water infrastructure so we can ensure Inland Empire families have sustainable access to clean drinking water. These federal dollars will allow us to prioritize necessary resources for families, protect the environment and invest in our regional economy,” said Congressman Pete Aguilar (D-31st District-San Bernardino).

The five other California water entities receiving Title XVI funds for authorized projects include:

  • City of Pasadena Water and Power Department, Pasadena Non-Potable Water Project, Phase I
  • City of San Diego, San Diego Area Water Reclamation Program
  • Hi-Desert Water District, Hi-Desert District Wastewater Reclamation Project
  • Padre Dam Municipal Water District, San Diego Area Water Reclamation Program
  • Santa Clara Valley Water District, South Santa Clara County Recycled Water Project