FEMA awards Rancho Water $1 million for new electrical generators

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TEMECULA – The Federal Emergency Management Agency awarded a grant for $1 million to the Rancho California Water District. The grant will cover 71% of the cost to purchase six of the seven planned on-site electrical generators. In the event of a power shutdown, these generators will be essential to keeping the water flowing to Rancho Water customers throughout the service area.

Rancho Water relies on electric-powered pump stations and wells for delivering drinking water throughout the District’s service area. Recent policy changes adopted by Southern California Edison involving public safety power shutdowns, along with other emergencies such as earthquakes, present a specific risk to the district. During fire-prone weather that involves high winds and temperatures, accompanied by low humidity, SCE will consider a public safety power shutdown for several large portions of Rancho Water’s service area due to the concern that the SCE electric system could become a source of wildfire ignition.

Recently, the district evaluated the drinking water distribution system to determine the risk associated with a potential public safety power shutdown from SCE. Seven additional sites were identified as desirable for on-site electrical generators within the Rancho Water service area. As part of this project, Rancho Water has already purchased and installed three on-site generators, and these additional seven will result in more than 80% of the district’s service area being covered in the event of an emergency.

“With customer service at the heart of this purchase, Rancho Water is grateful for the opportunity to move forward with this project that will help deliver life-saving water during emergencies and power outages,” Carol Lee Gonzales-Brady, president of Rancho Water board, said. “As we all know too well in this area, the threat of a wildfire or other severe weather event can be a stressful time. With these generators, having running, safe water at their tap is one less thing our customers have to worry about.”

Without generators powering well sites, Rancho Water couldn’t continuously pump groundwater if a power outage were to occur, and would have to resort to more costly imported water, pending availability. The new generators will ensure that water can still be pumped from local groundwater sources, and that drinking water needs can still be met through normal business operations such as pumping, transportation and treatment.

“The generators funded by this grant will tremendously enhance Rancho Water’s emergency resiliency,” Robert Grantham, general manager of Rancho Water, said. “By focusing on three key wells in our service area, we’re able to target the infrastructure that provides a large supply of our local water. That puts Rancho Water in a position of readiness if a natural disaster, or even a planned outage, should occur.”

The proposed Emergency Power Generation Project adds generators to wells and pump stations in the District that will range from 200 kilowatts to 500 kilowatts depending on the needs of the area. The on-site electrical generators are expected to be installed by early 2022.

For more information about Rancho Water, visit http://www.RanchoWater.com.

The mission of Rancho Water is to deliver reliable, high-quality water, wastewater and reclamation services to its customers and communities in a prudent and sustainable manner. Rancho Water is a local, independent special district, organized Aug. 16, 1965, servicing approximately 150 square miles and about 45,000 service connections in Temecula, Murrieta and parts of unincorporated areas of Riverside County.

Submitted by Rancho California Water District.