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Posted on: October 12, 2020

Western’s Victoria Recharge Basin wins engineering award for boosting sustainability

RIVERSIDE, CA – Western Municipal Water District (Western) has won an engineering award for its Victoria Recharge Basin, which was designed to increase the local water supply by capturing valuable stormwater that would otherwise be washed away.  

The Santa Ana River Basin Section (SARBS) of the California Water Environment Association (CWEA) awarded Western with the honor in June, giving it second place in the Engineering and Research category. 

“In our drought-prone region, we have a tremendous need for more local, reliable water sources and the Victoria Recharge Basin is helping us create that,” said Western’s General Manager Craig Miller. “Thanks to this forward-thinking approach, Western is harvesting a valuable natural resource to improve sustainability for our entire region.” 

The Victoria Recharge Basin mimics a natural process called ‘recharging’— which happens when runoff and rain seep down through the soil to replenish underground water sources. In this case, Western designed a 10-acre site in Riverside that can recharge up to 1,800 acre-feet of water per year, enough to supply about 3,600 homes for one year.

 “This is an example of how excellent design and execution can deliver real, tangible benefits to our communities,” Miller said. “We’re proud of the exceptional work Western staff does every day and we are honored to be recognized.”

Notably, the Victoria Recharge Basin is part of a much bigger network that Western designed to bolster local water supply. In fact, stormwater from the Victoria Recharge Basin feeds into the nearby Arlington Desalter, which provides billions of gallons of drinking water for the city of Norco and portions of Riverside. 

Local water projects like these also reduce the dependence on costly imported water, allowing Western to advance its commitment to responsible fiscal stewardship.

“We’re working hard to reduce the amount of imported water we must purchase from third parties,” Miller said. “Creating local water sources helps us diversify our portfolio so that we can deliver the best possible service at the lowest possible cost.”

In the event of an emergency, these local water supplies are vital. Imported water must travel through piping that spans hundreds of miles—so during an earthquake, for example, they could bust and cause interrupted service. Locally sourced water is much more reliable, leaving the region better prepared for an emergency.

The Victoria Recharge Basin is located in Riverside near the intersection of Victoria Avenue and Jackson Street. Completed in early 2020, the $10 million investment into Western’s water supply resources received $3 million in grants from the Riverside County Flood Control and Water Conservation District, Santa Ana Watershed Project Authority and the Bureau of Reclamation.

To learn more about the Victoria Recharge Basin, visit  wmwd.com/VictoriaRechargeBasin. Stay up to date on Western’s latest projects and happenings by following us on Facebook, Twitter, and Instagram.   

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Western Municipal Water District is one of the largest public agencies in Riverside County, providing water and wastewater (sewer) services to nearly a million people, both retail and wholesale customers who live, work and play within 527-square miles in one of California’s most populous regions. Learn more: wmwd.com.

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