April 22, 2024

IE COMMUNITY NEWS

El Chicano, Colton Courier, Rialto Record

Successful Groundbreaking Ceremony for Santa Ana River Enhanced Recharge Phase 1B Marks Milestone in Water Supply and Environmental Preservation

3 min read

Project partners commemorate the groundbreaking of the Santa Ana River Enhanced Recharge Phase 1B.

Over 30 years in the making, regional agencies celebrated the groundbreaking of the latest water infrastructure and environmental preservation project in the San Bernardino Valley. The San Bernardino Valley Municipal Water District, Western Municipal Water District, Riverside Public Utilities, and the San Bernardino Valley Water Conservation District held a joint groundbreaking ceremony on June 2, 2023, for the Santa Ana River Enhanced Recharge Phase 1B project. This momentous occasion represents a significant milestone in the collaborative efforts to enhance regional water supply reliability while simultaneously preserving and enhancing habitat for multiple endangered species.

“Infrastructure projects of this magnitude require a complex collaboration between technical engineering, environmental stewardship, funding commitments, and regulatory approvals. The partnerships in the Santa Ana River Enhanced Recharge project demonstrate the power of collaboration to address our region’s water challenges,” said Paul Kielhold, San Bernardino Valley Municipal Water District Board President.

The Santa Ana River Enhanced Recharge Phase 1B partner agencies have united their resources, expertise, and shared commitment to enhance water supply reliability within critical endangered species habitat. Phase 1B aims to bolster the regional water supply infrastructure and provide long-term sustainability for the communities within the region.

Event attendees gather at an overlook on the future recharge location which will ultimately increase the local groundwater replenishment by up to 80,000 acre-feet of stormwater. With a fresh morning drizzle reminding the community about the importance of stormwater capture, local public agencies gathered to celebrate the Santa Ana River Enhanced Recharge project which will be completed in 2025.

“Wet winters like the one we have experienced, highlight the need for preparation. We need infrastructure, like these recharge basins, to capture storm water when it is available during the wet years to have reliable water supplies in the dry period,” said Craig Miller, General Manager of Western Municipal Water District.

The Santa Ana River Enhanced Recharge project exemplifies the dedication and perseverance of the project partners in their pursuit of water supply reliability and environmental sustainability. Once completed this project will allow for up to 80,000 acre-feet per year of recharge in the Bunker Hill Groundwater Basin, a source of supply for over 700,000 people.

“Project partners have diligently worked to incorporate measures that enhance the habitat of endangered species within the Santa Ana River Basin,” said Betsy Miller Vixie San Bernardino Valley Water Conservation District General Manager. “By employing sustainable practices and utilizing advanced ecological engineering, the project creates a harmonious balance between water resource management and the preservation of biodiversity.

The groundbreaking ceremony included representatives from the San Bernardino Valley Municipal Water District, Western Municipal Water District, Riverside Public Utilities, and the San Bernardino Valley Water Conservation District to celebrate this significant milestone. During the program, Tommy Beaudreau U.S. Deputy Secretary of the Interior provided a video message to the audience commending the partner agencies for their collaborative approach to regional projects and creative solutions to protect species such as the San Bernardino Kangaroo Rat. Additionally, Representative Pete Aguilar highlighted the importance of water infrastructure projects and the positive impact this project will have on the region.

“The successful completion of the Santa Ana River Enhanced Recharge Phase 1B groundbreaking ceremony represents not only a momentous occasion but also a symbol of hope and progress in the realms of water supply reliability and environmental conservation,” said Heather Dyer. The project partners remain committed to the successful completion of the project, ensuring a sustainable and prosperous future for the communities they serve.

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