ENERGY EFFICIENCY PROGRAMS
A significant electrical load coupled with capacity issues with the regional electrical power grid and the cost of electrical power led EMWD to pursue alternative sources of electrical power supply including use of solar, digester gas, fuel cell technology, and microturbines.
- EMWD installed solar power generation systems at its Perris, Moreno Valley, Temecula, San Jacinto, and Sun City facilities.
- The systems produce 1 megawatt (1,000 kilowatts) of power to be used at each of the respective facilities and surrounding supporting infrastructure.
- Each facility will have an average of 30 percent of its energy usage provided through the solar facilities.
- The solar investment is anticipated to save ratepayers more than $1 million annually over the life of the system.
DIGESTER GAS DRIVEN FUEL CELLS
- Installed at EMWD’s Moreno Valley and Perris Valley regional water reclamation facilities.
- Fuel cells, which operate on renewable fuel, provide 25 to 40 percent of each facility’s energy requirements and produce virtually zero emissions, cutting greenhouse gases by more than 10,600 tons annually—the equivalent of taking approximately 1,000 cars off the road for one year.
- The fuel cells also save approximately $1 million per year in energy costs.
- Nine 60-kw microturbines provide additional power generation. The exhaust from these microturbines heats water necessary to power a 150-ton air conditioning unit.
- Microturbines save more than $300,000 a year.
- In partnership with the U.S. Bureau of Reclamation during the early 1990s, EMWD built a nearly 60-acre constructed wetlands that offers a lush habitat for migratory fowl, shore birds, and raptors along the Pacific Flyway. The wetlands also provide a low-tech, low-energy method to treat the wastewater, naturally removing nitrates and nitrites via bulrush, as well as a unique research station for the development of new innovations in water and wastewater treatment.
- The Wetlands Facility is also home to the Water Education Center, which features numerous hands-on activities where students experience an exciting day and increase their knowledge. EMWD also hosts seasonal bird-watching tours led by experienced National Audubon Society members.
GROUNDWATER RESOURCE MANAGEMENT
- Through collaborative and multi-faceted approaches, EMWD is able to successfully manage and augment its groundwater supplies in an economically and environmentally responsible manner to ensure long-term reliability for its customers.
- EMWD has worked to develop long-range management plans that are compliant with both newly adopted state mandates and its responsibilities as part of the Hemet-San Jacinto Watermaster for the adjudicated portion of the east side of the San Jacinto basin.
- Through the collaborative Integrated Recharge and Recovery Program, EMWD and the other Watermaster agencies deliver an average of 7,500 acre feet of recharge water into the San Jacinto Groundwater Basin each year.
- EMWD is also one of five member agencies of the Santa Ana Watershed Project Authority (SAWPA) that is participating in a first-of-its-kind regional groundwater banking program known as the Santa Ana River Conservation and Conjunctive Use Program (SARCCUP). This program will provide a collaborative, regional watershed-scale approach toward long-term groundwater basin management, replenishment and water transfers, allowing the five agencies to collectively plan for extended dry periods while also conducting habitat restoration and assisting with the development of regional long-term water use efficiency programs.
CLIMATE ACTION LEADER
- EMWD is a member of the California Climate Change Action Registry, a non-profit public/private partnership that serves as a voluntary greenhouse gas (CHG) registry to protect, encourage and promote early actions to reduce CHG emissions.
- In addition to efficiency investments that are already paying off, EMWD has a two-pronged approach for investing in projects that address climate change. EMWD is committed to investing in projects that adapt to climate change such as climate resilient water supplies and landscapes as well as demand reduction efforts. EMWD is also committed to investing in projects that mitigate climate change by maximizing energy independence, reducing GHG emissions, and advancing policies and strategies that address climate adaptation.
- EMWD is a charter signatory agency of the California Urban Water Conservation Council, which coordinates Best Management Water Conservation Practices. Ongoing residential water conservation programs, such as free home water surveys, and water efficiency devices help rate payers save water and money.
- Tiered rates and water budgets were implemented to encourage water efficiency. Also, a water wise garden at EMWD’s headquarters helps to illustrate appropriate plants and materials in landscaping.
- Using the most appropriate technology, many facilities are managed remotely through a 24-hour per day Supervisory
Control and Data Acquisition System (SCADA). In addition, Geographical Information Systems (GIS) provides precise
mapping of EMWD’s water systems. Decerto Water Optimization Software saves energy by using reservoir levels, water demands, system pressures, and supply constraints to determine optimal schedules for running pumps.
- Reaching nearly 80,000 students a year, the water education program instills a water wise mindset among youth. This award-winning program offers facility tours, school presentations, a theater production, water education materials, a poster contest and a literacy awareness contest.
- Since 2001, EMWD has been awarded more than $414 million in grants and low-interest loans.
- These grants and loans have helped fund wetlands modifications, alternative energy, water management and development, feasibility studies, regulatory compliance projects, recycled water infrastructure, and more. EMWD continues to actively pursue grants and loans.
- EMWD has $2.7 billion in assets and an annual operating budget of $259 million (FY 2016/2017).
- EMWD’s water and sewer revenue bonds were upgraded to a ‘AAA’ credit rating from Fitch Ratings, one of the nation’s top credit rating agencies. This is the highest possible rating, demonstrating that EMWD’s financial performance remains healthy despite an extreme multi-year drought. The increase to ‘AAA’ bond ratings from Fitch
enables the District to finance water infrastructure improvements at lower interest rates, thus reducing costs.