RIVERSIDE COUNTY, Calif. – The U.S. Army Corps of Engineers Los Angeles District joined officials from the Eastern Municipal Water District for their grand opening of the newest desalination facility June 23 in Menifee, California.
The Perris II Desalter, as it’s called, uses reverse osmosis to remove salts from the groundwater in the Perris and Menifee areas in Riverside County. It is the third such facility that the EMWD operates, and it is expected to increase capacity by 5.4 million gallons of potable water per day to help ensure basic human health and safety.
Though the Corps is not responsible for the construction of the project, it provided $10.8 million of funding toward the construction of wells for the facility – as well as in-kind support alongside several other EMWD project partners such as the California Department of Water Resources, the U.S. Bureau of Reclamation, the Santa Ana Watershed Project Authority and the Metropolitan Water District of Southern California – with the shared goals of helping provide a reliable, potable water supply to the area, preserving existing groundwater resources, and allowing the water district to rely less on imported water sources.
“EMWD is incredibly appreciative of all our program partners who made this day a reality, including the funding agencies that supported this facility,” said Phil Paule, EWMD board president. “We thank everyone who played a part in this facility that will help serve our communities today and for many years to come.”
Due to the state’s historic drought, the Metropolitan Water District has taken measures to conserve water for Southern Californians, like in April when the organization’s board of directors made the unanimous decision to impose mandatory restrictions on outdoor watering for 6 million Southern Californians to once a week.
“This is a historic day for EMWD and for the residents we serve,” Paule added. “As we continue to face water supply challenges throughout California, this facility will further ensure that our area is prepared to meet the needs of our customers through investments in local water supply sources.”
“I’m proud that the Corps is one of the external agencies that invested heavily in this effort,” said Lt. Col. Jeffrey Beeman, deputy commander of the Los Angeles District, who added that he was pleased to be able to confidently call the partnership between EMWD and the LA District “an amazing relationship.”
“It’s not uncommon for California to have to endure extended dry periods – like the one we’re in today – and face water-supply challenges,” Beeman said during the event, “so rarely has a system like this that expands local groundwater supplies been more important. I want to express my sincere appreciation for being such great partners as we work together on this vital mission.”
Beeman added, “A complex project like this would be impossible without such strong partnerships.”