Western Municipal WD invests $75 million in Infrastructure to reduce Imported Water Dependency

By on May 31, 2018

Riverside County’s Western Municipal Water District (WMWD) recently began construction on an 18-month project for a new pump station as part of a five-year, $75 million infrastructure plan. The construction of the Sterling Pump Station will ultimately connect with the La Sierra Pipeline, a five-mile pipeline project also under construction.

Western Municipal recently completed expansions at local Chino and Arlington desalters. These two sites extract local groundwater and purify the it through reverse osmosis for clean drinking water. The two desalter expansions have added to the amount of groundwater that the water district can purify for local use.

The increased water from the desalters will move through the La Sierra Pipeline and Sterling Pump Station when they are completed. From there the water flow will be directed to the La Sierra Reservoir and ultimately delivered to customers in Western’s footprint. WMWD has referred to the current construction projects underway as developments to “Connect the Drops.”

“With multiple large infrastructure projects underway and more planned, Western’s aim is to reduce dependency on imported water to under 50 percent,” explained Western Municipal Water District General Manager Craig Miller. “These projects will also have the capacity to provide additional local water in case of emergencies, and will increase water reliability in the event of a temporary outage of imported water supplies.”

The majority of the 28-billion gallons of reliable, safe drinking water that WMWD delivers to their approximately 25,000 residential and business customers is imported from Sacramento-San Joaquin Bay-Delta in Northern California and the Colorado River. This imported water travels from 200 to 400 miles to reach WMWD’s customers and is more costly and less reliable than locally-sourced water.

Miller summed up the water district’s investment of $75 million in infrastructure projects saying, “The Sterling Pump Station along with the Arlington and Chino desalters and the La Sierra Pipeline project reflect Western’s mission to become more self-sufficient, reduce dependence on imported water by securing local water supplies and meet the current and future water needs of our community and hold down the cost of water rates.”

With the recent start of the Sterling Pump Station, WMWD has reassured local residents and businesses that Sterling Ave. will remain open throughout construction and access to businesses and parking lots will be maintained during construction hours of 7 a.m. to 5 p.m., Monday through Friday. A construction hotline has been established to provide project updates; the public can also leave voicemail messages with any questions or concerns at 951-269-2339.