Local agencies help keep water from going down the drain in Western Riverside County

Metropolitan Water District and Western Municipal Water District presented $30,000 to the Riverside-Corona Resource Conservation District to offer free testing of sprinkler and irrigation systems.

RIVERSIDE, Calif., Aug. 23, 2001 — Hoping to help Southern Californians uncover hidden wasteful water practices, Metropolitan Water District and Western Municipal Water District presented $30,000 to the Riverside-Corona Resource Conservation District to offer homeowners and others free testing of their sprinkler and irrigation systems through a mobile water management laboratory.

Following a demonstration of the lab's services, U.S. Rep. Ken Calvert (R-Corona) joined MWD Directors John M. Mylne III and Marion V. Ashley, who represent Western Municipal Water District and Eastern Municipal Water District, respectively, on Metropolitan's board of directors, to give a $10,000 check to RCRCD Director Charles Colladay and Manager Shelli Lamb.

Western Municipal Water District, which has supported the mobile lab since its creation in 1987, continued its annual support in the amount of $20,000.

"Investments in community-based programs such as this one go a long way toward increasing water-use efficiency and water conservation in our region," Calvert said. "Water conservation will always be important for Southern California, drought or not."

"Metropolitan selected the mobile water management laboratory from among 72 requests for sponsorships through the two-year-old Community Partnering Program," Mylne said. "This year, we will distribute more than $450,000 in awards and in-kind services, many of these matched — and sometimes exceeded — by our member agencies."

"The purpose of the partnerships is to encourage the discussion of water quality, water conservation and water reliability issues important to the region through research and educational collaborations at all levels and policy forums," Ashley said. "Proposed programs must demonstrate a value-added benefit to MWD and its 26 member public agencies, serving 17 million water consumers in six Southern California counties."

"The mobile lab helps us stop water waste in our area by taking the guesswork out of irrigation," said Kerwin Russell, RCRCD resource management specialist. "Homeowners, farmers and landscapers like it because we show them exactly how much money they can save by fixing their systems or making a few changes in their watering schedule. A lot of the larger water users are surprised that they can save as much as they do."

Upon request, the lab's water conservation experts go to farms, large grassy areas and private homes to test turf and the sprinkler system output to see how much and how evenly water is distributed. Next, they conduct computer calculations using the data they collected on-site as well as information on weather patterns, and issue a thorough report, outlining an irrigation schedule as well as any weaknesses in the irrigation system.

Since its creation in 1987, the mobile water lab has performed more than 500 evaluations on more than 10,000 acres, saving an estimated $2 million in water costs. The free consulting service is popular, and currently has a waiting list several months long.

Under the CPP, sponsorships are provided for water-related activities such as public forums, educational and research programs, exhibits and other community-based events. Memberships in national, state, regional and local associations that support MWD's corporate and mission statements also are eligible, as well as educational mini-grants and innovative conservation pilot programs.

The Metropolitan Water District of Southern California is a cooperative of 26 cities and water agencies serving 17 million people in six counties. The district imports water from the Colorado River and Northern California to supplement local supplies, and helps its members to develop increased water conservation, recycling, storage, and other water-management programs.

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