EMWD Begins Service to County Water Company Customers

Perris, CA (April 11, 2017) — Eastern Municipal Water District (EMWD) today began providing water service to customers who have been transitioned from the now-defunct County Water Company of Riverside in a rural area of Menifee.

The start of service marks the end to a years-long process that involved the construction of a new water system in the area, the County of Riverside serving as an intermediary and legislation that was signed into law by Gov. Jerry Brown to protect the public agencies that took action on behalf of the homeowners in the area.

“This is a landmark moment for these residents and one in which we are proud to have taken an active role in,” said EMWD Board Member Ron Sullivan, who represents the area. “Because of the efforts of all involved, the residents of this community will now have access to a safe and reliable water supply for generations to come.”

For many years, the rural enclave northwest of Murrieta Road and Scott Road had been served by a private, for-profit water system with a single well. That system was often unreliable, resulting in sustained outages, and delivered water with nitrate levels significantly above the drinking water standards set forth by both federal and state regulatory agencies.

EMWD and neighboring Elsinore Valley Municipal Water District collaborated to develop a plan to transition 140 homes to their service from the failing County Water Company of Riverside system. The California Department of Public Health provided a $6.5 million grant to fund new infrastructure, annexation into The Metropolitan Water District of Southern California service area and connection fees for the 140 homes. Since November 2014, the area has been receiving a safe and reliable water supply through temporary infrastructure.

In 2014, Gov. Jerry Brown signed legislation (SB 1130), authored by State Senator Richard Roth and backed in the lower house by Assembly Member Melissa Melendez. The legislation provides immunity to the public agencies from lawsuits filed by County of Water Company of Riverside customers for any action which was a result of the prior owners and operators of the system. The legislation protects other ratepayers from the costs associated with potential lawsuits.

The County of Riverside – through the support of County Supervisor Kevin Jeffries – acted as the legal receiver of the system through the transition period. The Riverside County Economic Development Agency has been billing customers throughout the transition. As of April 11, 2017, EMWD’s portion of construction is complete and is assuming full responsibility of the system and billing of its customers.

“This has been a long process, but an important one for the residents of this community,” EMWD General Manager Paul Jones said. “We sincerely appreciate both the patience of the County Water Company customers and the partnership of all of the public agencies that have helped bring this process to completion.

“EMWD looks forward to serving our newest customers and we would like to personally welcome them to EMWD.”