Eastern Municipal Water District Receives $36M State Grant for Groundwater Improvements

Eastern Municipal Water District’s (EMWD) proposed Perris North Groundwater Program received a major boost with a $36.3 million grant from the State Water Resources Control Board (SWRCB). The proposed project is a long-term solution to improve groundwater quality in the North Perris Groundwater Basin, in the Moreno Valley area of Riverside County. The program would also make beneficial use of available local groundwater supplies, further reducing reliance on imported water supplies, by up to 6,700 acre-feet per year.

The grant award covers up to 50 percent of the estimated $72 million program to remove and contain nitrates, perchlorates, volatile organic compounds, and total dissolved solids from groundwater in the basin. It is the largest grant in EMWD’s history.

“We thank the State Water Resources Control Board for their support and shared vision toward a sustainable solution,” EMWD Board President Ron Sullivan said. “They have been a valued partner to EMWD, and we appreciate their ongoing commitment toward addressing groundwater quality issues in the region.”

Groundwater in Perris North Basin includes the footprint of March Air Reserve Base (MARB), which is served potable water by neighboring Western Municipal Water District (WMWD). The proposed Perris North Groundwater Program would improve local groundwater quality and availability in the region and would benefit all agencies involved.

EMWD has worked to secure external funding to advance critical water, wastewater and recycled water programs for the benefit of its customers as well as the surrounding region. The recent grant from the state is part of the 2014 voter-approved Proposition 1 Water Bond and it aligns with EMWD’s Strategic Plan objective to aggressively pursue outside funding to reduce financial burden to EMWD customers.

As part of its application to the state water board for the proposed Perris North Groundwater Program EMWD received more than 20 letters of support from proponents including State Senator Richard Roth, Congressmen Ken Calvert and Mark Takano, U.S. Senators Dianne Feinstein and Kamala Harris and the County of Riverside.  Critical support was also received from the California Department of Water Resources and Governor Gavin Newsom’s Military Council.

“We sincerely appreciate the ongoing support of our key stakeholders and partner agencies,” EMWD General Manager Paul Jones said. “Those letters of support, phone calls and advocacy efforts on behalf of EMWD continue to demonstrate to funding agencies that EMWD is committed to partnering with other organizations for the mutual benefit of our ratepayers.”

The project is currently in the preliminary design phase and, pending funding approvals and cooperative agreements, would then move into the design and construction phase. EMWD is continuing to work with WMWD and the DOD on interagency agreements. Other potential opportunities, such as the ability to partner with WMWD for a local, more sustainable water supply for MARB. EMWD continuing to collaborate closely with the DOD to secure assurances that the proposed Perris North Groundwater Program will not interfere with ongoing water quality mitigation programs at MARB.

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