Massive health grant aids Chino desalters expansion

California's Western Municipal Water District announced on 28 June 2012 that it had received a "monumental" US$ 51 million grant from the state's Department of Health towards the US$ 130 million expansion of the Chino desalination plants.

The grant will fund a portion of the planned Phase 3 Expansion of the Chino I and Chino II Desalter facilities, which will produce an additional 10 MGD (37,850 m³/d) of new water benefitting more than 1.5 million people in the Inland Empire. Western had sought the grant in collaboration with the Chino Basin Desalter Authority, Jurupa Community Services District (JCSD) and the Inland Empire Utilities Agency (IEUA).

The grant comes through the department's Division of Drinking Water & Environmental Management's Prop 50 Chapter 4b: Southern California Projects to Reduce Demand on Colorado River Water. It will enable the distribution of drinking water and minimize brine discharge in to the Pacific Ocean.

Through ongoing collaboration and commitment to provide a reliable local water source, the agencies have successfully partnered to secure more than US$ 70 million in grants, including US$ 5.6 million in federal appropriations, to help the region expand the Chino Desalters.

The existing Chino I / Chino II Desalters currently provide 8 billion gallons (30 million m³) annually of high-quality drinking water to the cities of Chino, Chino Hills, Ontario and Norco as well as the JCSD and the Santa Ana River Water Company.

Terry Catlin, board president of IEUA, added that in addition to increasing local water supply, the Chino Desalters help manage salt in the groundwater basins and protect downstream water quality for Orange County.

"Staying in pace with innovation and technology is essential to the future of our region," said Catlin. "We're committed to looking for additional grant opportunities to fund local water."

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