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Central Basin Project Will Save 38M Gallons of Potable Water Every Year


BY BRIAN HEWS• June 10, 2021

With former disgraced GM Kevin Hunt, his puppet Finance Director Andrew Hamilton, and several other questionable employee’s departure, the administrative and financial turnaround continues at Commerce-based Central Basin (CB) Municipal Water.

Sales are up, bogus expenses projected by Hunt and Hamilton have been found – substantially cutting expenses – and now water reliability projects are beginning to gush forth.

One of the projects includes the Recycled Water Customer Conversion for Disadvantage Communities Project (DAC).

In November 2020, the California Department of Water Resources (DWR) awarded funds for the implementation of projects like the DAC that improve water supply reliability in Central Basin’s (CB) area.

CB identified nine public facilities in the cities of Bell, Bellflower, Compton, Huntington Park, South Gate, and Whittier that would benefit from converting parts of their irrigation systems from using drinkable water to recycled water.

CB applied for the grant and it was subsequently awarded.

One of the benefits of the DAC include reducing the region’s reliance on imported water by using locally-produced recycled water.

This would increase overall reliability and reduce the usage of potable water from other sources.

When the DAC is up and running, the conversion will save an estimated 110 acre-feet of water per year. An acre-foot of water is 326,000 gallons; the savings will equal 35.8M gallons of potable water annually.

In addition, the DAC will mitigate climate change by reducing the amount of energy and carbon dioxide used in importing water.

It is estimated that the project will cut greenhouse gas emissions by nearly .20 metric tons of carbon dioxide per year and save over 220,000-kilowatt hours, enough to power 20 homes for a year.

CB GM Alex Rojas told HMG-CN, “Now, and for the foreseeable future, we need to conserve our local drinking water resources by expanding recycled water access for irrigation, industrial and other integrated water management strategies. The more recycled water we can provide, the more local drinking water we can conserve.”

Making the project even more beneficial, the grant is in the amount of $1.55 million and does not require any matching funds from CB, while eventually raising water sales by nearly $100,000 annually.

The project will involve installing the pipelines, over 4,100 linear feet, that will connect customer sites to CB’s existing recycled water system, something that GM Kevin Hunt never pursued.

HMG-CN and others constantly questioned Hunt on why he was not increasing sales for the agency using these kind of recycled water hook-ups, and he never answered the questions.

The one project that had observers scratching their heads was the Commerce Casino’s request for recycled water from CB; the casino is across the street from District HQ.

The casino project was proposed in many agendas, but James Roybal, Leticia Vasquez, and other directors voted to stymie the project and it was never completed; several other companies in the area had also expressed interest in recycled water but no one from CB followed up due to the former board.

Now, the new CB management and board is pursuing those potential customers that Hunt ignored, as well as other projects beneficial to communities such as the DAC; projects that will decrease potable water usage beyond the 35.8M savings from the DAC, increase recycled water usage, and increase District sales.

CB Board President Art Chacon told HMG-CN, “The board believes the District is in a position to take the lead as it relates to the expansion of recycled water services throughout our service area. If it means funding recycled water projects directly, through partnerships or with grants, we will dedicate the necessary human and fiscal resources to make it happen.”

But not all of the board believes.

In 2020, Directors Vasquez and Martha Camacho-Rodriguez voted against the Urban Water Management Plan that started the process toward the DAC and other projects.

If the UWMP did not pass in 2020, the DAC and other projects would not have been possible.

At CB’s June 28 meeting, another vote will be taken, HMG-CN sent texts to both directors asking them for comment; the texts were unreturned.