Anyone who lives in Southern California knows that water is an important lifeline commodity in this desert-like region. It was water that made it possible for this region to become the economic powerhouse it has been for decades. And it is water that will enable us to continue to lead the way into the future — if our water supplies remain secure and reliable.
Today, we are being challenged like never before in ensuring the continued flow of water into our cities. Southern California gets most of its water, at a cost, from three sources outside the region, and the water must travel miles from its origins to its destination.
Fortunately, Central Basin Municipal Water District is taking steps in the right direction to effectively offset this water challenge. In January, we began construction of the 15-mile long Southeast Water Reliability Project (SWRP) to complete a “loop” of pipelines that eventually will connect to Central Basin’s existing recycled water system.
SWRP will enable Central Basin to expand recycled water use locally, which is a cost effective way to reduce our reliance on imported water throughout southeast Los Angeles County.
In addition to improving our water independence, this project is having an important impact on revitalizing the local economy. Over the life of the project, SWRP will create hundreds of new jobs in fields like engineering, construction, manufacturing and maintenance. Business revenues generated by this project will total $37.1 million and total tax revenues generated will total $1.5 million.
SWRP is also helping Central Basin meet the statewide conservation goals set by the California Legislature in 2009, to reduce daily per capita water use 20% by 2020. Recycled water use has proven to be the most effective method of water conservation. Expanding the regional use of recycled water through this project will help protect our limited water supplies for future use, while helping to ensure that as a region we are well-positioned to withstand future drought.
Central Basin’s current recycled water program delivers 5,000 acre-feet of recycled water annually to more than 200 large water users, including industrial and irrigation sites throughout the service area. Once completed, SWRP will bring another 5 billion gallons of recycled water annually to meet local demands, and will conserve as much as 12,000 acre feet of water per year.
Finally, SWRP has qualified for $5.6 million in federal stimulus funding and $3.5 million in California Proposition 50 Funding and for good reason — it is creating jobs, helping the environment, helping to secure the region’s water supply, adding to the regional infrastructure and bringing lasting economic benefits. It is a clear win-win for the District, its customers and the communities we serve.
For more information about this project and other programs at Central Basin, please visit www.centralbasin.org or call our project hotline at (888) 341-5707.
Art Chacon is the Director of Division III for the Central Basin Municipal Water District, representing the Cities of Bell, Commerce, Huntington Park, Maywood and Walnut Park, and portions of Cudahy, Monterey Park and unincorporated East Los Angeles.