Valley-Wide Recreation and Park District has become the first organization to take part in a unique opportunity presented by Eastern Municipal Water District that will result in the usage of recycled water at Wheatfield Park in Menifee.
EMWD’s Recycled Water Retrofit Program allows government agencies, school districts, home owners associations or industrial organizations to obtain a low-interest loan from EMWD to fund a retrofit to recycled water.
Under the terms of the agreement, EMWD will loan Valley-Wide the funding for the $200,000 conversion project. Valley-Wide will repay the loan by continuing to pay its current potable water rate while receiving recycled water, which is significantly less expensive.
Because of the difference between EMWD’s recycled and potable water rates, it is expected that Valley-Wide will pay off the cost of the retrofit program within five years, at which time it will see a significant savings in its irrigation costs for the 25-acre park, located on the southwest corner of Menifee Road and La Piedra Road.
“Valley-Wide has long seen the importance of using recycled water to protect the resources of both agencies,” EMWD Director Ron Sullivan said. “To have them as the first participant in this program is a natural fit and one that will benefit both agencies and all of our ratepayers.”
Wheatfield Park has had a five-year average annual usage of 77 acre feet per year. The conversion will save enough potable water for roughly 150 households per year. One acre foot is enough for two, average-sized households per year.
The retrofit program allows for a loan amount of up to $2,500 per acre foot of water used annually, based on a three-year average. It is available to other organizations, though requirements must be met.
Both EMWD and Valley-Wide have long been leading advocates of recycled water. In 2011, Valley-Wide was selected by the California WateReuse Association as Recycled Water Customer of the Year. EMWD was selected California Recycled Water Agency of the Year in 2010 and honored for the National Project of the Year in 2012.
EMWD currently reuses approximately 90 percent of its recycled water for beneficial use and is one of the largest recyclers of water in California. It’s percentage-for-beneficial use is believed to be the highest of any water agency nationally. Recycled water accounts for 25 percent of EMWD’s overall water supply portfolio.
“We are appreciative to Eastern Municipal Water District for this opportunity,” Valley-Wide Board President Larry Minor said. “This program will ultimately save our ratepayers money and promote the long-term sustainability of our water supply. This is a fantastic program that has benefits across the board.”