Water Agency Receives $200K Federal Grant for Drought Preparation, Planning

Ceci Partridge

The Western Municipal Water District received a $200,000 federal grant that the Riverside-based agency will invest in contingency planning to blunt the impacts of the next drought.

The U.S. Bureau of Reclamation awarded the grant specifically to bolster the WMWD’s drought preparation efforts, according to agency General Manager Craig Miller.

“Western works hard to pursue funding opportunities that complement and reduce the amount of customer dollars needed to pay for critical system enhancements and long-range planning projects,” Miller said. “We are proud of our track record of using customer revenue responsibly and look forward to continuing our work with the Bureau of Reclamation.”

The funds will be applied to efficiency efforts that promote water security and storage, using a task force that will be composed of water experts, business leaders, agriculture irrigators and other stakeholders within the agency’s service area to come up with ideas of what approaches might work best in developing a new drought contingency plan, or DCP.

According to officials, the task force will be encouraged to draw on experiences in the 2014-17 drought period to draft the next DCP.

“As we have seen in the last few years, in addition to the environmental impacts of our water supply, we must also consider risks to critical infrastructure due to wildfires and corresponding public safety power shutoffs,” Miller said. “This planning effort will ensure Western continues to provide reliable, quality water no matter the circumstance.”

Taskforce members will be selected in the next few months, and the goal is for the DCP to be in print by June 2022, according to the WMWD.

The water district serves the Mission Grove and Orangecrest neighborhoods of Riverside, as well as Corona, Jurupa Valley, the Lake Mathews area, Murrieta, Norco, Lake Elsinore and portions of the Temecula Valley.

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