Western Board adopts innovative blueprint to guide work on capital projects through 2025
RIVERSIDE, CA – Western Municipal Water District (Western) has built an innovative blueprint to guide work on 64 capital projects through 2022 with a roadmap for known future projects extending through 2025.
Earlier this summer, Western’s Board of Directors approved its first two-year Capital Improvement and Facilities Plan (CIFP) budget for fiscal years 2021 and 2022. The capital projects will create, maintain and improve the delivery and conveyance systems that provide water and wastewater (sewer) services to nearly 1 million people who live, work and play across 527 square miles in southern California.
The plan sets immediate capital priorities for the current two-year period while forecasting additional project needs over a five-year span–aligning the project list with Western’s overarching strategic priorities. The comprehensive report explains which capital projects customers can expect and in what order, providing transparency, consistency and sound long-term planning.
“Western has a robust maintenance and replacement program that continually protects the integrity of our pipes, pumps, and treatment systems to ensure water and wastewater collection is not interrupted due to equipment failure,” said General Manager Craig Miller. “We recognize the value of the customer's hard-earned dollar and want to demonstrate how investments are being prioritized to bring safe, reliable, and quality services.”
The plan for this fiscal year includes improvements to Western’s water and wastewater systems, critical technology projects, and joint projects with partners such as the Chino Desalter Authority, the Santa Rosa Regional Resources Authority and the Western Riverside County Regional Wastewater Authority.
Over the next two years, Western estimates capital project costs of nearly $59 million, with funding offsets (state and federal grants, partner agreements, and loans for example) of almost $42 million. Most of the nearly $17 million in net capital spending will come from reserve funds.
Notably, the CIFP will support additional meter upgrades throughout Western’s service area along with a new online service portal so that all customers can benefit from the advanced meter information technology. As part of continuing efforts to provide customers with new cost-efficient technologies, Western has replaced approximately half of its water meters (or about 12,000) in its Riverside service area. These “smart” meters can provide a range of benefits to customers, including the ability to obtain real-time water use information and leak detection services.
The plan prioritized projects through a collaborative, multi-departmental process; staff considered factors including safety, current asset conditions, risk of equipment failure, funding availability and regulatory requirements. Western staff also analyzed individual project workloads and the overall impact to ensure feasibility and timely completion.
While the plan considers known projects over a five-year span, Western will revisit the priorities every two years to ensure the investments are prioritized in a way that best serve customers, addresses evolving challenges and meets Western’s most pressing needs.
“Providing customers with the consistent delivery of safe, reliable drinking water and environmentally sensitive wastewater services is our job,” said Miller. “We do that by investing in our system so that it will provide for customers now and for generations to come.”
To learn more about Western’s capital investment plan, visit wmwd.com/cifp or call 951.571.7100. For more information about Western’s general fund budgets, visit wmwd.com/budget.