WRD State of the District: Water Projects and Programs Will Provide Long Term Savings for Ratepayers in South L.A. County
Innovative District Programs and Fiscal Discipline Expand Safe, Reliable and Inexpensive Groundwater Supply for South LA County
LAKEWOOD, Calif., Oct. 20, 2011 /PRNewswire-USNewswire/ — Today, the Water Replenishment District of Southern California (WRD) held its 3rd Annual State of the District address. WRD Board President Sergio Calderon and WRD General Manager Robb Whitaker presented to public officials, ratepayers and members of the public on the accomplishments the District has achieved over the past year. Innovative water programs, cutting-edge engineering projects and strategic partnerships have expanded opportunities to capture and produce increased amounts of water, thereby reducing the region’s dependence on more expensive water purchases from outside sources.
“This past year, WRD succeeded in developing programs that help us protect and grow our groundwater supply. Creative projects will enable us to capture more water than any other time in the agency’s history,” said Board President Sergio Calderon. “These efforts put us on track toward water independence and reduce the need in South Los Angeles County to purchase more expensive water from outside our region. Ultimately, this translates into lower costs for ratepayers throughout the district.”
The successes for the year include awards for financial management, top credit rating grades, national awards for groundwater programs and management and ongoing community education programs that promote groundwater protection.
Assemblymember Bonnie Lowenthal who was present at the WRD State of the District noted, “A major earthquake could easily cut us off from our sources of river water from the north, so it’s impossible to overstate the importance of the work that the WRD is doing to ensure a safe and reliable supply of water right beneath our feet.”
“This year’s achievements reflect the exceptional work and visionary leadership from our Board of Directors,” stated WRD General Manager Robb Whitaker. “It also includes a dedicated staff that works hard to ensure that WRD is true to its mission to protect, preserve and replenish the Central and West Coast Groundwater Basins.”
Among the year’s accomplishments discussed during the State of the District address include:
- WRD General Manager, Robb Whitaker was awarded this year’s recipient for the “Recycled Water Advocate of the Year” by the California Section of the WateReuse Association. The award is in recognition of his accomplishments in conceiving and leading the Water Independence Now, or WIN, Program. The WIN program is a nationally recognized model of local water supply development.
- WRD laid the foundation for its cornerstone program, the Groundwater Reliability Improvement Program (GRIP), bringing it a step closer to realizing its goal of becoming fully independent from imported water. As part of the WRD Water Independence Now (WIN) Program, GRIP will replace 7 billion gallons of increasingly costly and unreliable imported water with dependable local sources of replenishment water.
- Partnering with the County Department of Public Works and the Sanitations District of Los Angeles County, WRD completed the Interconnection Pipeline to increase storm water capture and water reuse for groundwater replenishment. The Interconnection Pipeline increase the capture of storm water by connecting the Rio Hondo and San Gabriel River Spreading Grounds. The Pipeline increases operational flexibility and will enable the capture of an additional average of nearly half a billion gallons of water annually or enough water for about 13,000 residents. The Interconnection Pipeline is operational during this year’s storm season.
- WRD received the National Ground Water Association’s Outstanding Ground Water Project Award for outstanding science, engineering and contractor innovation in the area of protecting groundwater. The NGWA Ground Water Protection Award is in recognition of WRD’s Regional Groundwater Monitoring Program, a network of over 300 monitoring wells, which tracks water levels and water quality to ensure the usability of the area groundwater supply.
- WRD was awarded the prestigious California Society of Municipal Finance Officers (CSMFO) Meritorious Award for Excellence for its 2010/2011 budget document and process. This is WRD’s seventh consecutive Meritorious Award for Excellence after passing a rigorous examination process that honors agencies like WRD for meeting high level criteria in the quality of their budget documents and budgeting process.
- Two top credit rating agencies, Fitch Ratings and Standard & Poor’s, graded the WRD with a “AA+” credit rating, indicating a very strong financial standing. WRD remains one of the few agencies to achieve and maintain an “AA+” rating. Both agencies attributed the rating to the WRD’s financial strength, stability, and sound fiscal management.
- WRD is committed to education, among both youth and the general public. With more than 4,300 guests participating in this year’s WRD Groundwater Education Festival, the children and adults alike enjoyed the Aquarium of the Pacific’s “Aquarium on Wheels,” Star Eco Station reptile exhibits and the Discovery Science Center’s environmental and educational “edutainment.” Local students from around WRD’s 43 cities service area were on hand to learn how WRD conducts groundwater monitoring of the Central groundwater basin and the West Coast groundwater basin.
- WRD collaborated with the National Ground Water Association in promoting national Protect Your Groundwater Day. WRD joined with 125 elementary school students from Rancho Santa Gertrudes Elementary School in Santa Fe Springs and celebrated the event by having them take the Acknowledge, Consider and Take Action Pledge to protect and conserve groundwater supplies. The event was covered by local television news stations and highlighted the effort that every member of the public can take in protecting groundwater.
For more information about WRD, please visit our website at www.wrd.org.
Created by voters in 1959, WRD is a regional groundwater management agency that protects and preserves the quantity and quality of groundwater supplies for nearly four million residents in southern Los Angeles County or over 10% of the State’s population. For more information, please visit www.wrd.org .
SOURCE Water Replenishment District of Southern California