The potential future production of more local water supplies received a financial boost Tuesday from the Metropolitan Water District of Southern California.
Metropolitan’s Board of Directors gave the final approvals necessary to provide $3.5 million for 15 pilot projects and technical studies aimed at reducing the technical and regulatory barriers for seawater desalination and groundwater enhancement as well as stormwater and recycled water.
Under Metropolitan’s Future Supply Actions Funding Program, 11 Metropolitan member agencies were awarded funding. When combined with matching funds from the member agencies, and other local, state and federal resources, an additional $8 million will be infused into the projects.
“The status quo is never good enough, not when we have the responsibility of ensuring Southern California has access to a reliable water supply today and into the future,” said Metropolitan Chairwoman Gloria Gray. “We are constantly looking for opportunities to develop additional water resources.”
The Future Supply Actions program is part of Metropolitan’s Integrated Resources Plan, a comprehensive roadmap to expand and diversify the region’s water supply portfolio.
In August, Metropolitan invited member agencies to submit proposals requesting up to $500,000 of funding. A panel composed of Metropolitan staff and independent experts evaluated the proposals based on how projects could help increase potential for development of local water supplies and provide regional benefits, in addition to the effectiveness of proposed work plans, schedules and costs.
Selected projects include analyzing an innovative reverse osmosis process in brackish groundwater treatment; testing an EPA-certified pesticide to manage invasive quagga and zebra mussels in stormwater recharge basins; and piloting artificial intelligence technology in the control systems of a water treatment plant.
This is the second round of funding provided through Metropolitan’s FSA program. Under a 2013 pilot, Metropolitan provided about $3 million for 13 technical studies and pilot projects. The program culminated in a conference where participating agencies showcased their projects and results. Details and reports about those projects are available here.
“The FSA program is key to helping us address an uncertain water future,” said Metropolitan General Manager Jeffrey Kightlinger. “By investing in studies by our member agency partners, we’re increasing the knowledge and data available throughout the region, helping us all make more informed decisions about the potential for new water resource programs in Southern California.”