Portion of Riverside County reclaims 90 percent of its water

PERRIS, Calif.

The use of reclaimed, or recycled, water, has been done for decades. In part of Riverside County, more than 90 percent of the water that goes down the drain gets reused.

The Eastern Municipal Water District of Southern California says it's one of the top water companies in the country when it comes to the percentage of wastewater that they're able to reuse.

During a severe drought, they say recycling as much water as possible is vital. Some of the water in wastewater-treatment plant ponds does evaporate, but more than 90 percent of it will be reused -- not for drinking, but for practically anything else.

"We have extensive agricultural industry in this area, so we use the water for ag industry. We also use the water for parks and schools and other landscape irrigation needs," said Joe Mouawad, director of engineering with Eastern Municipal Water District.

And there's another benefit too, because of the fact that they're able to recycle so much water out here, that will help keep costs low for everyone else in this area, especially during a drought.

"Our customers are going to realize that benefit. Less purchases from imported supply, means lower stabilized rates for everyone," said Mouawad.

The city of Moreno Valley says using recycled water in their parks saves about 70 percent on their water bills.

"It's money that can go into other items, like keeping the site green, keeping shrubs growing, keeping good recreational areas for the public," said Tony Hetherman, Moreno Valley Parks Projects coordinator.

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