One Year Anniversary of City of Riverside-Western Municipal Water District’s Successful Partnership

It’s been one year since the City of Riverside and Western Municipal Water District (WMWD) executed a Regional Water Partnership deal that allowing WMWD to purchase surplus Riverside groundwater supplies that are part of the City’s Court-adjudicated water right in the San Bernardino Basin Area. In its first calendar year, the partnership has resulted in a $2.6 million savings for Western and $4.5 million in revenue for the City. It has also brought an additional 2.4 billion gallons of local groundwater to WMWD’s customers, which is enough annual water supply for about 15,000 single-family homes. The deal will also help keep water rates as low as possible in the years to come for both agencies.

“The City of Riverside and Western celebrate the one-year anniversary of the historic water agreement that has saved customers of both agencies millions of dollars and provided Western customers with a more reliable water supply,” said Western’s Board Vice President Bob Stockton.  This innovative, long-term agreement capitalizes on local water sources at costs that are considerably less than imported water from northern California. This agreement was the result of superb cooperation between the agency’s staffs, who worked tirelessly to make it happen.”

With lower water demands in the areas served by Riverside Public Utilities (RPU), due to increased efficiencies, surplus supplies can be sold to Western. WMWD will purchase RPU’s “surplus water” and transport other water supplies through the city and will pay for the use of Riverside’s distribution and treatment system as well as the associated energy costs to move groundwater to the WMWD’s service area. This allows WMWD to avoid purchasing more expensive imported water and RPU receives fund for the water WMWD purchases from them and for the use of Riverside’s water transport and treatment systems.

“This partnership really is a win-win,” added Jo Lynne Russo-Pereyra, chair of the Board of Public Utilities in Riverside. “It has allowed the City to make good use of the water rights we acquired in 1969 and the available system capacity that otherwise would be unused. The agreement also reduces our neighbor’s dependence on imported water. Most importantly, it provides the customers of both agencies a more economical water rate.”

The Regional Water Partnership is the result of the collaborative spirit of the leadership at both agencies who sought to solidify the long-term partnership between Riverside’s two water providers on behalf of all water customers. It is anticipated that in the next 20 years the partnership will bring approximately $100 million in new revenues to the City of Riverside and a cost savings of approximately $45 million to Western when compared to the cost of imported water. Though the Regional Water Partnership is still relatively new, it is on track to deliver even more local groundwater and more savings than last year.

“When it comes to providing essential services, both to our residents and our neighbors in western Riverside County, we really are better together,” said Riverside Mayor Rusty Bailey. “I applaud these efforts to find savings that help us keep water rates as low as possible for everyone.”

WMWD Board Member Thomas P. Evans summed up the Regional Water Partnership’s success in the past year saying, “Customers in both service areas benefit from this agreement. It is the result of City of Riverside Councilmembers, the Mayor, and Western Directors working together for the collective benefit of Riverside and Western customers.”

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