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Department of the Interior Secretary Haaland Visits EMWD to Discuss Water Supply Resiliency

Department of the Interior Secretary Haaland Visits EMWD to Discuss Water Supply Resiliency

August 10, 2023

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From left: United States Bureau of Reclamation Manager Stacy Wade, Department of the Interior Secretary Deb Haaland, EMWD Board President Phil Paule, EMWD General Manager Joe Mouawad, Congressman Mark Takano.

Eastern Municipal Water District (EMWD) was selected by the Department of the Interior to provide a briefing and tour of its planned Purified Water Replenishment (PWR) facilities to Department of the Interior Secretary Deb Haaland.

The Department of the Interior’s United States Bureau of Reclamation (USBR) has committed $10 million in funding to the project through the Bipartisan Infrastructure Law. EMWD has also previously received a $17.5 million commitment for the project through the USBR’s Water Infrastructure Improvements for the Nation Act.

Sec. Haaland, Congressman Mark Takano (CA-39th), and staff from the Department of the Interior and USBR met with EMWD officials and regional dignitaries such as leadership from the Soboba Band of Luiseño Indians for a briefing at EMWD’s headquarters on August 3, 2023. The briefing provided an overview of EMWD’s PWR program, which will use ultrafiltration and reverse osmosis to purify recycled water and use it to replenish the local groundwater basin, where it will one day become a drinking water source.

Following the briefing, Sec. Haaland, Rep. Takano, Department of the Interior and USBR staff visited EMWD’s San Jacinto Valley Regional Water Reclamation Facility, where the planned Advanced Water Purification Facility for PWR will be constructed. EMWD anticipates beginning construction on the Advanced Water Purification Facility in 2024.

EMWD routinely meets with its legislative officials, but Sec. Haaland’s visit marked the highest-ranking administration official to tour an EMWD facility in the organization’s 73-year history.

“EMWD sincerely appreciates the time and engagement that Secretary Haaland provided to learn about our Purified Water Replenishment program and the impact that federal funding has on local water supply investments,” EMWD Board President Phil Paule said. “Because of the support of agencies like the Department of the Interior and USBR, and programs like the Bipartisan Infrastructure Law, we are able to return our constituents’ tax dollars back into their communities to invest in programs that provide a direct benefit to their quality of life.”

EMWD is among the nation’s most successful agencies in securing external funding, and in 2022 received more than $115 million in grants and low-interest loans from state and federal funding agencies to help offset costs that would otherwise be shouldered by its customers.

“EMWD is honored to have the opportunity to share our successes with Secretary Haaland, and we look forward to a continued partnership with the Department of the Interior and USBR that benefits our water supplies and our customers,” Paule said. “These programs are critical to enable water providers throughout the west adapt to a changing climate and to meet the needs of a growing population and to protect water supplies and quality for future generations.”

Eastern Municipal Water District is the water, wastewater service and recycled water provider to nearly one million people living and working within a 558-square mile service area in western Riverside County. It is California’s sixth-largest retail water agency, and its mission is “To deliver value to our diverse customers and the communities we serve by providing safe, reliable, economical and environmentally sustainable water, wastewater and recycled water services.” More information can be found at

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