New water desalination plant in Menifee will provide 15,000 homes with clean groundwater

Combined with two other desalination plants already in service, they will now be able to treat 14M gallons of water per day.
Wednesday, June 29, 2022
MENIFEE, Calif. (KABC) -- Neighborhoods throughout Menifee and Sun City show evidence of water conservation.

Front yards are no longer covered with grass, but are covered with decorative rock instead.

Not to be outdone, the water agency that serves the area just unveiled its third water desalination facility.

The plant will allow Eastern Municipal Water District to treat underground water that's too salty to drink and make it safe to consume.

"One of the things we have in our service area is a lot of unusable ground water because of the mineral content," said EMWD Board President Phil Paule. "With the opening of this facility this week, we will add the ability to service 15,000 households now with water we're not importing from the Colorado river or state water project.

Paule said the plant will be able to treat 5.4 million gallons of water per day.

Combined with two other desalination plants already in service, they will now be able to treat 14 million gallons of water per day.

This is water that will no longer need to be pulled from the Colorado River.

"The water is at the lowest since the Hoover Dam was built," said Paule. "That should be cautionary to everybody in Southern California that we need to be able to figure out how to use local resources for our water."

Eastern Municipal Water District officials said the opening of the plant now means that approximately 10% of the water used in their service area comes from their desalination programs.

"Facilities like this are what show that there is a different path," said Joaquin Esquivel, chairmen of the State Water Resources Control Board. "When we're in settings like this where we have communities and ratepayers that can contribute, and thankfully the state and feds that can contribute dollars to ensure the affordability of water supplies like this, you can do great things."

The new plant was funded in part by approximately $22.5 million in grant funding made available from Prop 1, the 2014 voter-approved water bond.

EMWD officials said while the cost of operating and maintaining the facility will be paid by ratepayers, the hard costs of the facility that weren't covered by state and federal funding were supplemented by the developers of new homes in the service area.

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