FONTANA - Construction will begin soon on a recycled water distribution system that will save drinking water and use a less expensive alternative for landscaping and commercial uses.

The project is a partnership between the city of Fontana, Fontana Water Co. and the Chino-based Inland Empire Utilities Agency.

"The switch to recycled water will help us ensure the residents and businesses of Fontana will have ample water supplies well into the future," Mayor Acquanetta Warren said. "Nothing is more basic or important to our lives and our economy than water, and this project is a step in the right direction toward building a bright and prosperous future for our community.

Warren was one of several speakers on Friday morning at groundbreaking ceremonies at Southridge Community Park.

The recycled water will be flowing by December 2014, officials said.

Recycled water is sold for 50 percent less than drinking water, Robert Young, general manager of Fontana Water Co., said in an interview.

"This is an exciting project," City Manager Ken Hunt said in an interview.

The primary savings for Fontana residents will be for those in the Southridge Landscape Maintenance District, he said.

About 10,000 homes, and 35,000 to 40,000 residents, are in the Southridge area, Hunt said.

Industrial users in the area also can benefit as will future industrial businesses that might come into the area, he said.

At least two schools in the Fontana Unified School District will likely be able to use the recycled water, said Alex Alvarez, associate superintendent for business services.

It's too early to discuss what the savings might be, Alvarez said.

Besides saving on water bills, a secondary benefit has a larger city-wide impact, Hunt said.

Projects like these preserve safe drinking water for people and relieve demand from city wells.

Fontana City Officials and members of the IEUA at the groundbreaking ceremony Friday at Southridge Community Park in Fontana.
Fontana City Officials and members of the IEUA at the groundbreaking ceremony Friday at Southridge Community Park in Fontana. (LaFonzo Carter/Staff Photographer)
This will slow down the need for additional freshwater wells, Hunt said.

A similar project is slated for Fontana's Village of Heritage section, which has about 14,000 residents, the city manager said.

Fontana Water Co. is scheduled to begin construction of its portion of the recycled water system almost immediately and it should be completed by mid-2013.

The Inland Empire Utilities Agency portion of the project will be under construction by April and is scheduled for completion by late 2014.

The agency began selling recycled water in the 1970s as a low-cost alternative for large irrigation customers. In the past 10 years, the agency has emphasized the need to expand and utilize recycled water more efficiently to improve the sustainability of the region's water supply.

More than 600 customers are connected to recycled water throughout the agency's service area.

The Inland Empire Utilities Agency serves 850,000 residents of west San Bernardino County. Its mission to supply imported drinking water, collect and treat wastewater, and provide reusable compost and high-quality recycled water.

Fontana Water Co. serves more than 200,000 customers in the Fontana, Rialto, Rancho Cucamonga and Ontario areas.


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