Riverside, Calif. – As Water Awareness Month kicks off this May, Riverside Public Utilities (RPU) celebrates its 100th year of providing safe, reliable, high quality water services to its customer-owners.
After many years of exponential growth, fueled in part by the rapidly expanding citrus industry in Southern California at the end of the 19th century, Riverside’s citizens decided in 1913 to add municipal water services to the already successful city-owned electric utility company that was founded in 1895.
Many of the city’s pioneering water companies were merged to form the municipal water utility, which to this day is owned by the customers it serves. By continuing to support and invest in a locally owned and operated water utility, Riverside’s leaders and residents set the foundations upon which today’s, and tomorrow’s, successes are being built.
By maintaining historic groundwater rights and well locations, and through construction of important infrastructures such as the John W. North water treatment facility, RPU has been able to become water independent – free of having to pay for higher cost, and less reliable imported water resources.
This allows the utility to meet its mission to provide high quality services at low rates that benefit the community. In fact, when compared to RPU, water rates are 32% higher in the City of Banning; 56% higher in the City of Corona, 66% higher for those served by the Eastern Municipal Water District; and 76% higher for those served by the Western Municipal Water District (based on a February 2013 residential water rate comparison at 23 ccf per month usage, excluding utility user tax).
While having an abundant water supply is essential to meeting service commitments and maintaining lower rates, RPU’s most important water utility goal is to ensure that customers receive only the highest quality drinking water that meets or surpasses all state and federal requirements for drinking water quality.
Thousands of tests are taken each year from source to tap to make certain that this high standard is met at every twist of the faucet. Results for the previous calendar year are presented in the state-mandated Water Quality Annual Report (WQAR) which is mailed out to all Riverside Public Utilities water customers and is also available to view online at www.RiversidePublicUtilities.com/WaterReport
However, wise use of Riverside’s water supplies is the only thing that will ensure that these resources will be available to serve the utility’s customer-owners for the next 100 years and beyond. Projects that help to recharge our groundwater supplies and use recycled water will help to preserve RPU’s water resources for generations to come.
Additionally, RPU will continue to support our water conservation programs that have been designed to help customers reduce their water use and provide them with rebate incentives for making their homes and businesses more water efficient.
RPU offers residential customers rebates for the installation of: high efficiency toilets and clothes washers; high efficiency sprinkler heads; Weather Based Irrigation Controllers (WBICs), which set sprinkler run times based on current weather conditions; artificial turf areas; and even for installing a water wise garden with native California plant species that require little or no water to maintain. Information on all of the available residential and commercial water conservation programs offered by RPU can be found at www.GreenRiverside.com
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