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April 07, 2023

Rep. Aguilar Announces $2.5 Million to Improve Water Conservation and Drought Resiliency in the Inland Empire

HIGHLAND, CA — Today, Rep. Pete Aguilar announced $2,500,000 of federal funding he secured for the Santa Ana River Enhanced Stormwater Recharge Project. This project will increase the amount of storm water from the Santa Ana River that can be captured and recharged from the Seven Oaks Dam. The water captured by this project in the San Bernardino Basin will help approximately 400,000 residents. With recent storms battering the Inland Empire, this project will play a key role in our region’s long-term drought resiliency and water-conservation efforts.

“Protecting our water supply is one of the most important issues we face as a region, state and nation,” said Rep. Pete Aguilar. “With the latest surge of storms, California’s drought has been cut in half, but this is not a sustainable solution to our drought. This project will benefit over 400,000 people in our region and play a key role in our long-term conservation and drought resiliency efforts.”

“San Bernardino Valley Municipal Water District is excited to move forward with this critical water supply project as it demonstrates our commitment to collaboration, regional partnership, innovation, and perseverance in getting hard things done. This project is so unique because of its many integrated benefits; first and foremost it captures much-needed local stormwater during wet years for use during future dry years; it improves the long-term water quality of our groundwater; it supports and actually enhances endangered species habitat; and finally it serves as the foundation of our long-term climate resilience strategy for the upper Santa Ana River watershed,” said Heather Dyer, CEO/General Manager of the regional water agency which has been ensuring water supply to the area since 1954. “This is a generational investment in water infrastructure that will support the changing needs of our region’s population and environment for decades to come. I’m honored to be part of it,” she added.

“In a state like California where every drop of water is precious, cooperative management is essential. As a partner with San Bernardino Valley for more than five decades, Western Water is proud that our region is leading by example and working together,” said Western Water’s Board President Mike Gardner. “Local projects like the Enhanced Recharge Project are needed to capture and store more stormwater when we get it, so we can stretch our resources during longer, hotter and drier weather conditions.”

Pictures from Rep. Aguilar’s Press Conference:

Rep. Aguilar serves as Chair of the House Democratic Caucus and as a member of the House Committee on Appropriations.