Strong infrastructure and skilled staff add to the value of water

Opinion section
Valley News - Opinion

Greg Thomas 

Special to Valley News

Customers know when they need clean drinking water, they simply have to turn on the tap. At Elsinore Valley Municipal Water District, we take pride in ensuring customers don’t have to worry about the safety or reliability of their water.

As we celebrated California’s fourth Water Professionals’ Appreciation week beginning Oct. 5, we recognized and thanked our many water industry professionals who play a crucial role in ensuring safe and reliable drinking water supplies and efficient wastewater treatment, as well as, providing helpful customer service. It’s a challenging and rewarding career that requires many skills.

It is most evident during the COVID-19 pandemic that shows public health benefits from safe drinking water and wastewater treatment are immeasurable.

Water treatment is something most people never have to think about, and that’s a good thing. But at EVMWD, our operations staff is working 24/7 to ensure the system is functioning properly and our water meets all state and federal health and safety standards. Similarly, wastewater treatment, is highly regulated and operators must ensure the recycled water is safe and clean for return to the environment.

Just like your home or car, water systems need regular maintenance. EVMWD’s operations team works quickly and efficiently to ensure these systems are kept running with little to no interruption to our customers’ service.

Sometimes, maintenance isn’t a quick fix. A recent study by American Society of Civil Engineers cites that aging infrastructure and limited funding has led to water main breaks throughout the nation. These line breaks have increased by nearly 30% in the past 10 years. At EVMWD, we too face the concern of aging systems and would see service interruptions more frequently if we did not have a robust preventative maintenance and capital replacement plan.

EVMWD makes critical improvements to our system that will help us avoid expensive emergency repairs. The district prioritizes projects to extend the life of hundreds of miles of water and sewer pipelines, pumps, reservoirs and more. These improvement projects span a 97-square-mile service area and require skilled teams of engineers, water quality experts and construction crews to keep our water flowing day in and day out.

When you consider the skills, knowledge and complex infrastructure that’s needed to get water from the far off imported or local source to homes, it is rather remarkable that EVMWD can deliver high quality drinking water for less than a penny per gallon. With a strong commitment to strategic planning and continual improvements, the proactive measures EVMWD takes will benefit our community with water reliability for years to come.

Greg Thomas is general manager of Elsinore Valley Municipal Water District.