The beginning of 2023 was characterized by unexpected and unprecedented powerful storms that relieved us from the State’s historic drought conditions. Due to the record-breaking precipitation across the State, IEUA’s Board of Directors was able to ease drought regulations by declaring an end to the Water Shortage Emergency Condition and Emergency Water Conservation Framework in April.
However, it is critically important that, as a community, we continue to exercise waterwise practices to help support long-term water supply needs. IEUA takes pride in our many conservation focused programs offered to the community. In addition to these programs, IEUA, along with three Metropolitan Water District of Southern California partnering water agencies, was recently awarded over $8 million in funding from the Department of Water Resources as part of their Urban Community Drought Relief Grant Program for the turf transformation program. This program will help our region recognize further water savings, and IEUA staff are prepared and excited to work with our customer agencies to help transform non-functional turf into drought-tolerant landscaping in our community.
While the winter storms have alleviated current drought pressures, the challenges we’ve faced over the past few years shed light on the importance and value of increasing local drought proof supplies. The Agency continues to prioritize supporting and developing innovative, collaborative partnerships with local and regional agencies to strengthen long-term water supply needs. As part of this initiative, IEUA has established a recycled water purchase agreement with the City of Rialto to expand our region’s recycled water supply. Additionally, IEUA continues to plan for the Chino Basin Program (CBP), a series of innovative water treatment and storage projects that will provide an additional 15,000 acre-feet of advanced treated, purified recycled water in the Chino Groundwater Basin each year.
While the CBP is still in its early stages of development, I am excited to announce that the Regional Water Recycling Plant No. 5 (RP-5) Expansion Project is moving closer towards its anticipated completion in 2025. The new infrastructure will expand RP-5’s liquid treatment capacity to 22.5 million gallons per day (MGD), increase average flow from 30 MGD to 60 MGD and includes a brand-new solids treatment facility.
All of these initiatives contribute to the Agency’s goal of diversifying our water supply portfolio and will allow IEUA to maximize existing water supplies for the benefit of our future. I’m thankful to have the opportunity to work alongside so many incredible staff here at the Agency and with our many partners throughout the region.
As we begin this next fiscal year, water conservation, water quality, and water supply availability remain top priorities for IEUA as the Agency continues to implement advanced technologies to help increase and enhance the quality of local water supplies within the Chino Basin. We look forward to what the future holds as we continue to provide services that align with our commitment to fiscal responsibility, water reliability, and environmental stewardship.
Shivaji Deshmukh, P.E.