The Metropolitan Water District of Southern California’s (MWD) board of directors has voted to provide funding of up to $19.6 million to the Santa Monica Sustainable Water Supply Project — a project that MWD says will benefit the entire region.
The recycled water and groundwater recovery project will produce up to 750 million gallons of water a year for the beachside city of Santa Monica, increase the availability of local drinking water supplies, and strengthen the region’s resiliency to drought, climate change and emergencies.
“Though this project will serve Santa Monica residents, it also benefits our entire region because it lessens the strain on our imported water sources, making them available to other agencies and areas that may need them in the future,” said MWD board Chairwoman Gloria D. Gray. “With all of the challenges we face, including persistent drought and climate change, we must advance projects that diversify our water sources, especially recycled water, which creates a new supply that would otherwise be lost to the ocean.”
The project includes construction of the Sustainable Water Infrastructure Project Advanced Water Treatment Facility, an underground facility that will purify one million gallons of wastewater daily before it is injected into the Santa Monica Groundwater Basin for later use. The project also features upgrades to the city’s existing Arcadia Water Treatment Plant, which will treat impaired groundwater.
“The Local Resources Program is a critical tool to help plan for a future filled with uncertainties,” said Brad Coffey of MWD’s Water Resource Management Group. “What is certain is that our region will increasingly see the effects of climate change, including challenges to our imported water supplies. When we integrate local supply projects like Santa Monica’s, we are helping to secure reliable water for Southern California while decreasing the burden on our conveyance infrastructure and lowering system costs.”
Currently, the City of Santa Monica partially relies on imported water to meet its water needs. This project will allow the City to take a major step toward water independence, supporting existing programs designed to create a sustainable water supply. According to the City of Santa Monica, becoming water self-sufficient offers the city three major benefits: long- term cost protection for water ratepayers; a diverse, sustainable, and drought-resilient local water supply; and a reduced water supply energy footprint.
The MWD agreement with Santa Monica provides up to $19.6 million over a 25-year period. According to the Environmental Protection Agency (EPA), the population served by this project is 92,416.