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Key Congressional Committee Approves Bill to Protect Water Quality in Santa Ana River

FOUNTAIN VALLEY, Calif., May 19 /PRNewswire/ -- The Orange County Water
District (OCWD) and the Inland Empire Utilities Agency (IEUA) are pleased with
the House Resources Committee's recent approval of H.R. 142, an amendment to
the Water Recycling and Desalination Act.

The bill, authored by Congressman Gary Miller (R-CA), authorizes over
$70 million in federal assistance to improve the water quality of the Santa
Ana River and expand the existing groundwater desalination facilities in
Chino, which will help improve water reliability for Southern California.

"Congressman Miller's legislation is critical for ensuring a reliable
water supply in the Inland Empire," stated Robert Neufeld, Chino Basin
Watermaster chairman.  "H.R. 142 will enable the Chino Basin to clean-up
historic agricultural related water quality problems."

Specifically, H.R. 142 would authorize up to $50 million, or 25 percent,
of the actual construction costs to expand the Chino desalination facilities
to provide more drinking water to the residents of Chino, Chino Hills,
Ontario, Jurupa and Norco.  Up to $20 million would go toward OCWD's expansion
of its natural wetlands treatment of the Santa Ana River.  OCWD has a stated
goal to send all Santa Ana River flows through natural treatment wetlands to
enhance the water quality of the river flows.  Currently, OCWD sends
50 percent of the river flows through wetlands for nitrate removal.  H.R. 142
helps fund the expansion of the wetlands for 100 percent water-quality

"The federal financial assistance from H.R. 142 will not only help drought
proof the Santa Ana Watershed but will significantly enhance the water quality
of the Santa Ana River," said Denis Bilodeau, OCWD board president

"Congressmen Gary Miller and Ken Calvert have done a wonderful job of
supporting the efforts to expand our local water supplies and assist in
protecting the water quality of the Santa Ana River," said John Anderson, IEUA
board president.  "Their leadership and assistance on Congressional
authorization for these very important projects will provide significant
environmental benefits."

The Orange County Water District (OCWD) manages and protects the huge
groundwater basin underlying north and central Orange County.  OCWD is a
special district, separate from the County of Orange or any city government.
It was created by the California Legislature in 1933 to oversee Orange
County's groundwater basin.  The groundwater basin supplies more than half of
the water needs for 2.3 million residents in the cities of Anaheim, Buena
Park, Cypress, Costa Mesa, Fountain Valley, Fullerton, Garden Grove,
Huntington Beach, Irvine, La Palma, Los Alamitos, Newport Beach, Orange,
Placentia, Santa Ana, Seal Beach, Stanton, Tustin, Villa Park, Westminster and
Yorba Linda.  To learn more about water log on to

The Inland Empire Utilities Agency distributes imported water from
Metropolitan Water District and provides industrial/municipal wastewater
collection and treatment services, operates the Chino 1 Desalter, and other
related utility services for a 242-square-mile area in the western portion of
San Bernardino County.  Approximately 700,000 people reside in IEUA's service
area.  For more information, contact Sondra Elrod at (909) 993-1747 or visit
IEUA's web site at

SOURCE Orange County Water District; Inland Empire Utilities