The California Department of Water Resources (DWR) and local partners today [Feb. 22] commemorated the completion of a project to extend the State Water Project’s East Branch Aqueduct to bring additional supplies to communities in eastern San Bernardino County. The East Branch Extension was designed and built in partnership with the San Bernardino Valley Municipal Water District and San Gorgonio Pass Water Agency.
Of the record 78,496 acre-feet of State Water Project water from Northern California, about 70 percent was used to recharge the San Bernardino Basin, which, in fall 2016, was at its lowest level in history, said Bob Tincher, deputy general manager for resources at the San Bernardino Valley Municipal Water District, the region’s water wholesaler.
“A decade ago, Riverside County and 14 cities set up a regional conservation agency to acquire and protect wildlife habitat and remove red tape for developers who want to build in the western part of the county.”
“Goodbye Menlo Wash, the submerged dip at the border of San Jacinto and Hemet, and no more cars straddling the Santa Fe Avenue centerline to avoid stalling out in storm runoff in San Jacinto’s Midway area.”
“Fish have been dying by the thousands in Menifee Lake since last month — killed off, apparently, by a toxin from a type of algae. But we’re encouraged that, for once, government is staying on the shorelines.”
“As calls flooded into the Hemet water department Thursday after the city had to shut down two wells because of high nitrate levels, city officials worked to assure residents that there are no dangers in tap water.”
“The city of Hemet has temporarily shut down two of its six water wells and is telling customers not to give tap water to infants or pregnant women because of high nitrate levels found during testing Wednesday.”
“Six days after dead fish began appearing on the surface of Menifee Lake, little has been done to clean up the private water body. And baring any public health issues, government officials say they have little – if any – control over it.”
“People who have ditched their lawns in favor of water-sparing landscapes reel off the benefits with hardly a pause. Lower water bills. More wildlife. Less maintenance. And not least, a feeling of satisfaction.”
“A few years ago, a vibrant 70 acres of ponds attracted thousands of ducks and other migratory waterfowl to the Hidden Valley Wildlife Area in northwest Riverside.
“The wetlands haven, once fed by recycled water from Riverside’s sewage treatment plant, has dried up, a casualty of virulent rainstorms three years ago that damaged a riverbed channel used to funnel water to the ponds.”
“State and local water officials want to cut by more than half the maximum supply of recycled water that can be purchased to replenish the San Jacinto Wildlife Area, raising calls by environmentalists for more scrutiny.”