Jul 21, 2009

California Utility Seeks Local Solution to Supply Shortage

Inland Empire Utilities Agency will rely on local sources for 70% of water

The Inland Empire Utilities Agency, serving the southwestern edge of San Bernardino County, is relying on local sources for about 70% of its water, Greenwire reported.

The agency draws much of its water from sources such as water runoff from dairies, industrial parks and planned communities. Meanwhile, nearby Los Angeles relies nearly entirely on imported water.

Inland Empire has the benefit of geography, since its service area includes a large water basin. Last year, a study by the Los Angeles County Economic Development Corp. found the city could obtain water equal to the amount it shunts down from the northern part of the state through conservation and increased collection of runoff.

"I'm not going to say it would be easy, or could be done overnight or would be cheap," said Gregory Freeman, the corporation's vice president. But "the water solution of the next 100 years will be different from the water solution of the past 100 years."

A plan drawn up by the city's Department of Water and Power includes increased conservation and storm flow collection. It would also require a $1-billion cleanup of the San Fernando Valley's polluted groundwater basin.