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More water storage to capture stormwater as drought persists

March 1, 2022

Today, as the California Department of Water Resources (DWR) conducted its third snow survey of the winter season at Phillips Station in northern California, Director Karla Nemeth noted a “significantly below-average snowpack combined with already low reservoir levels.”

“With only one month left in California’s wet season and no major storms in the forecast, Californians should plan for a third year of drought conditions,” she added.

Days earlier two Southern California water districts announced a collaborative stormwater storage project to boost local water supplies and reduce flooding.

The Beaumont-Cherry Valley Water District (BCVWD) and the Riverside County Flood Control and Water Conservation District (RCFC&WCD) estimate that the Beaumont Master Drainage Plan (MDP) Line 16 project will capture and deliver up to 500 acre-feet of water per year to existing aquifer recharge ponds.

The auxiliary water supply will support 900 families a year. In addition, it will support long-term regional water sustainability – providing assurance of water services to customers.

This month construction will begin on a storm drain that will collect and transport runoff to BCVWD’s existing Noble Creek Recharge Facilities, which feed the Beaumont groundwater basin.

photo of street flooding in Cherry Valley, California | credit Beaumont-Cherry Valley Water District“(Since) The project area often experiences street flooding with even just small amounts of rain,” said Andy Ramirez, VP of BCVWD, “Working together to manage stormwater… we can minimize flood impacts to our community and strategically grow our local water resources while promoting a sustainable water future.”

Storm water flow in excess of the capacity of BCVWD ponds will discharge into the Noble Creek Storm Drain Channel, in lieu of the (July, 1983-dated) planned discharge point into Marshal Creek. The diversion will reduce the likelihood of street flooding along Brookside Avenue.

BCVWD is supplied by imported surface water and local groundwater. The District capitalizes on its large water storage capacity in the Beaumont Basin and strategically seeks opportunities to add to that underground water reservoir to hedge against water shortages.

“Planning and collaboration between our agencies emphasizes our dedication to protecting residents from flooding and ensuring water reliability for the region,” said Jason Uhley, GM and Chief Engineer at Riverside County Flood Control and Water Conservation District. “We recently partnered to prevent flooding and debris flow from local burn scars, and we are looking forward to the opportunity to continue working together on this important project.”

Construction is anticipated to be complete by June, 2023. In 2012, BCVWD first approached RCFC&WCD with the storm water conservation project concept.