In a continuing effort to increase water supplies within Southern California, U.S. Senator Dianne Feinstein (D-Calif.) introduced a companion bill to House approved HR 177. Senate bill S. 2106, like HR 177, authorizes $174 million to naturally improve water quality in the Santa Ana River watershed and increase the region’s water supply by 65.2 billion gal per year.
“The Orange County Water District (OCWD) is very pleased with Senator Feinstein’s bill. Securing our water future should be on the forefront of everyone’s mind,” said Phil Anthony, OCWD board president. “By 2020, our region will grow dramatically from 37 million people to more than 50 million. We need to find new sources of water and use what we have available wisely. These projects will help us ensure our own water future.”
Specifically S. 2106 includes the following:
--Continue Federal Support for the Orange County Groundwater Replenishment (GWR) System. S. 2106 authorizes $51.8 million for the GWR System, a wastewater reclamation project that will be the nation's largest indirect potable reuse project. The purification process will use microfiltration membranes, reverse osmosis membranes and ultraviolet disinfection to produce 70 million gal of highly purified water per day to be put into the local groundwater basin.
--Develop Wetlands in the Prado Basin. S. 2106 authorizes $20 million to develop wetlands along the Santa Ana River in the Prado Basin, expanding natural treatment of the river before it replenishes Orange County’s groundwater supplies.
--Expand Groundwater Desalination in the Chino Basin. S. 2106 authorizes $50 million to increase groundwater desalination in the Chino Basin from the current 9,000 ac-ft per year to 40,000 ac-ft per year. The purified water will provide a new fresh drinking water supply for Jurupa Community Services District, Santa Ana Mutual Water Co. in Riverside County, and the cities of Norco, Chino, Chino Hills and Ontario in San Bernardino County. (One ac-ft is 326,000 gal.)
--Construct Regional Brine Lines. S. 2106 authorizes $40 million to safely and efficiently discard byproduct saltwater, also known as brine, from desalination plants by constructing a new pipeline to the Pacific Ocean. This will ensure that the brine does not contaminate fresh groundwater supplies.
--Establish a Center for Technological Advancement of Membrane Technology and Education. S. 2106 authorizes $12 million to build an advanced water filtration technologies research center to find better, more cost-effective approaches to water purification. This center is proposed to be located at OCWD in Fountain Valley, Calif.