Western invests in reliability projects to secure water supply both for our customers and the region. These investments focus on securing new water rights via stormwater capture, water wheeling from outside our service area, water recycling and groundwater desalting. We believe that reliable water resources are imperative for those not-so-rainy days and years that are common to Southern California.
Desalting of water is usually associated with oceans, but not in the Inland Empire. Western began investing in desalting technology two decades ago to diversify its water supplies with construction of the Arlington Desalter, which was the first groundwater desalter created in Southern California. Opened in 1990 and expanded in 2004, the Arlington Desalter allows for the clean-up of local groundwater to provide high-quality drinking water for the region. In partnership with several other inland agencies, Western is also working to clean-up groundwater and expand local water supplies with additional desalters in the Chino Basin. These techniques and facilities also allow for additional groundwater storage opportunities.
Western’s planned Riverside-Corona Feeder project will allow for the delivery of water to our customers that has been “banked” underground during wet years in the San Bernardino Valley and Chino Basin. Storage water will come from two primary sources, local rain and snow runoff from the Santa Ana River system behind Seven Oaks Dam in Mentone and from the California State Water Project.
Seeking water rights is another way Western is securing water for our customers. The District fought for almost two decades to access rights to runoff water stored behind the Seven Oaks Dam. Western and San Bernardino Valley Municipal Water District partnered to secure these new water rights. In a wet year, captured runoff can yield up to 200,000 acre-feet of water, more than 1.78 million gallons per day.
Reliable water supplies are critical to our customers’ way of life and our region’s economic vitality.