But because water and energy are inextricably linked, as we try to adapt to one challenge – say, by getting more water via desalination or water recycling – we may be worsening the other challenge by choosing energy-intensive processes.
The release also noted that the grant funding was “prioritized for projects that develop and supplement urban and irrigation water supplies through water reuse, thereby improving efficiency, providing flexibility during drought or water shortages, and diversifying water supply.”
The Eastern Municipal Water District will receive $25 million in federal funds over the next several years to expand its desalination program, increasing fresh water stocks and reducing dependence on water imports, the agency announced Tuesday.
The Perris-based EMWD was selected to receive the additional funding under the recently approved federal Water Resources Development Act, and the U.S. Army Corps of Engineers will be responsible for distributing the funds.
“EMWD is incredibly appreciative of our federal elected officials and the U.S. Army Corps of Engineers for their partnership and support of our expanding desalination program,” EMWD Board Vice President Phil Paule said.
Producing clean water at a lower cost could be on the horizon after researchers from The University of Texas at Austin and Penn State solved a complex problem that had baffled scientists for decades, until now.
In mid-2018, officials were predicting that the operation could be turning ocean water into drinking water as soon as 2021. Now, the project will be doing well to simply win all required permits by the end of next year.
The water plant proposal has been in the works since 2016. The agreement with the city’s lender, Bank of the West, will cover construction costs as the $64.6 million project gets underway next year at the location of the existing water treatment plant.
The almost $70 million project aims to develop a reliable, drought-resistant water supply so the city doesn’t have to depend so much on buying water and can use Sacramento-San Joaquin River Delta water year-round.