Amethyst Basin Flood Control and Water Project a Model of Inter-Agency Cooperation

By on June 26, 2019

Ten years in the making, the Amethyst Basin flood control and groundwater recharge facility is now a reality. A recent dedication ceremony marked the completion of the project and featured the four agencies that cooperatively saw the 27.4-acre project to completion.

The $9-million project is designed to handle a 100-year storm, the basin will capture peak storm flows and release them at a manageable rate to protect property a well as road crossings downstream of the basin, including Interstate 15. But the collaboration between four public agencies may be the basin’s most noteworthy feature.

“This project is a great example of how collaboration between various agencies can address the community’s needs while achieving cost-saving efficiencies,” said San Bernardino County First District Supervisor Robert Lovingood. Lovingood is also a member of the governing body of the County Flood Control District.

The San Bernardino County (SBC) Flood Control District, the Mojave Water Agency (MWA), the City of Victorville and California Department of Water Resources (DWR) each contributed to the project to make the High Desert a safer and better-able to meet its future water needs. The Amethyst Basin will deliver State Water Project (SWP) water to recharge basins in the Oro Grande Wash, located west of Interstate 15 and south of Bear Valley Road in Victorville. Water from the SWP will be delivered to recharge ponds through a pipeline that connects to the California Aqueduct at the Highway 395 turnout.

The SBC Flood Control District partnered with the MWA to incorporate interior dikes allowing for the recharge of imported water into local groundwater basins. The MWA provided the right of way for the project and also assisted the Flood Control District in securing a $5.2 million grant from California’s DWR and the majority of the funding for the project.

“The project is an example of successful collaboration among agencies to work on multi-benefit projects to improve water supply reliability while reducing flood risks and protecting public safety,” said Vic Nguyen, Southern Region Office chief for the California DWR.

The Amethyst Basin is located just east of Sycamore Street and Amethyst Road in Victorville. The city of Victorville participated in the project by aiding in utility relocation and with the planning of future road improvements. Two hundred cubic yards of dirt removed from the basin was used in the nearby Ranchero Road interchange project thereby savings taxpayers saved $2 million in the process.

“The Amethyst Basin brings tremendous benefit to the community of Victorville through improved flood control, increased safety, and the recharging of our groundwater supply, which ultimately increases our potential for future development,” said Victorville Mayor Gloria Garcia. “We are grateful for the interagency collaboration and investment of manpower and resources that made this capital improvement a reality.”

“The Amethyst Basin Project is an important flood control facility for this area, but it also serves as a groundwater recharge basin right here in Victorville adding to the region’s sustainability,” Mojave Water Agency Board President Carl Coleman said. “The execution of this effort was like a relay race with each entity handing off the baton. It’s this kind of collaboration that yields great results.”