Regional Water Reliability Program Receives CDWR Grant
The California Department of Water Resources recently awarded a $55 million grant to five water districts in the Santa Ana Watershed (Orange County Water District, Inland Empire Utilities Agency, Western Municipal Water District, San Bernardino Valley Municipal Water District, and Eastern Municipal Water District).
The funds will be used for a multi-year program to jointly develop shared facilities at several groundwater basins that will improve the reliability of water supplies in the region. One unique aspect of this program is that it would allow a water district that has excess water in one particular year to store this supply in a groundwater basin located in another district that has excess storage capacity. All districts will share the cost of the water supply and will be able to use an equal portion when more water is needed during droughts. This program is expected to increase the watershed’s supply of water by up to 180,000 acre-feet.
Another feature of this program, currently called the Santa Ana River Conservation and Conjunctive Use Program, is to enhance natural habitat for threatened and endangered species within the Santa Ana River Watershed. The watershed is the area drained by the Santa Ana River. The funds provided by voter-approved Proposition 84 will be used to remove invasive plants, create habitat for the endangered Santa Ana Sucker fish and encourage reduction of individual and business water use.