EMWD water banking project to begin in San Jacinto in September


The 40-acre site on the northwest corner of Mountain and Esplanade avenues in San Jacinto is owned by Eastern Municipal Water District and may soon see some major construction underway.

The EMWD board of directors announced recently that they had received a $13.8 million construction grant for the water banking and associated pipelines and extraction wells. The grant to be used in the San Jacinto water banking project will be voted on Sept. 4, with construction expected to start soon after that at the site.

During construction, residents will see heavy equipment on-site working on the excavation and construction of the ponds and associated facilities, EMWD officials announced. There will be additional truck traffic in the area and the contractor and the city of San Jacinto will coordinate on the hauling routes and traffic control measures.

Once constructed, the site will have two large replenishment ponds. EMWD will bring in water from the State Water Project purchased from The Metropolitan Water District during wet or normal years. That water will be allowed to percolate in the ponds into the local groundwater basin that serves the San Jacinto Valley. It will provide the capacity to replenish up to 7,000 acre feet of water per year that may be extracted during dry and normal years, EMWD officials estimate.

EMWD has coordinated with the city of San Jacinto on the landscaping of the perimeter of the facility. Following completion of construction, EMWD will deed the perimeter of the site to San Jacinto, which will be responsible for the maintenance. The perimeter of the site will include a walking trail, climate appropriate landscaping that the city helped select and educational messaging.

“This project will provide significant benefits by increasing groundwater supplies that will be available during future drought years. California will continue to have years of heavy rain and snow, followed by periods of extended drought. This project allows us to capture and store that water during wet years and have additional water supply reliability during dry years,” Kevin Pearson, EMWD public affairs officer, said.

“EMWD is exploring the potential of a Purified Water Replenishment program that would advance treat recycled water using microfiltration and reverse osmosis technologies. The purified water would then be replenished into the groundwater basin, where it would undergo the natural soil aquifer treatment process, before being extracted and purified before being used as drinking water. This safe and established technology has been used widely around the world and throughout Southern California to help ensure a reliable and safe drinking water supply,” Pearson said.

Tony Ault can be reached by email at tault@reedermedia.com.