Metropolitan's Rialto Pipeline Improvements Will Bring Enhanced Reliability to Inland Empire, Three Valleys
The planned $11 million in upgrades to the Rialto Pipeline will permit future repairs to occur along the 30-mile line without affecting water deliveries.
"These upgrades to Metropolitan's Rialto Pipeline will greatly enhance the reliability of the pipeline that brings water from the California Aqueduct to people and businesses in the foothill and valley communities of San Bernardino and eastern Los Angeles counties," said Jeff Kightlinger, Metropolitan's general manager.
Gene Koopman, director on the Inland Empire Utilities Agency and MWD boards of directors, said, "About one-third of Inland Empire's water comes from the Rialto Pipeline, the rest primarily from local wells.
"In the past, when the pipeline was shut down for inspection or repairs, we had to ask residents to take extraordinary measures to further reduce their usage in order to stretch supplies on hand. While we will continue our strong practice of water conservation, these upgrades will prevent shortages during shutdowns and emergencies in the future," Koopman said.
Richard Hansen, general manager of Three Valleys Municipal Water District, agreed. "About two-thirds of Three Valleys' water is imported, and increasing the reliability of the Rialto Pipeline will substantially improve the reliability of water service in the cities we serve."
Three Valleys wholesales water to the water providers serving Azusa, Claremont, Covina, Diamond Bar, Glendora, Industry, La Verne, Pomona, San Dimas, Walnut, West Covina, Charter Oak, Covina Knolls, Rowland Heights and South San Jose Hills. Inland Empire Utilities Agency delivers water to the cities and other agencies serving Chino, Fontana, Montclair, Ontario, Rancho Cucamonga, Upland, and Chino Hills.
Metropolitan's Rialto Pipeline carries water from the State Water Project west from Devil Canyon in San Bernardino County to Metropolitan's Live Oak Reservoir at La Verne. There are about a dozen connections with IEUA and TVMWD pipes along the way.
Unlike many of Metropolitan's other pipelines, the Rialto lacks shutoff valves throughout most of its length. Shutoff valves allow portions of a pipeline to be isolated for maintenance and repair, while allowing upstream sections to continue delivering water. Without that feature during shutdowns, consumers are required to drastically limit water use, such as during a June 2004 event that affected about 1 million customers.
In addition to installing structures and equipment that will allow the pipeline to be sectioned off during inspection and repairs, the upgrades will include a pumping facility at the Live Oak Reservoir that will allow water to be pumped back, or east, along the pipeline, allowing connections at the western end of the pipe to be serviced when other parts are blocked off.
Metropolitan's board appropriated $7.97 million for the project, and approved a construction contract with J.F. Shea Construction, Inc., for the first phase of the three-phase, $11.6 million project. Completion is expected in summer 2008.
In addition, Metropolitan has partnered with Three Valleys and IEUA to augment supplies stored in local groundwater basins. During emergencies and dry years, imported supplies pre-delivered and stored in local aquifers can help maintain reliability.