DWR approves Yuba Groundwater Sustainability Plan

District celebrates record-breaking groundwater recharge year

Thanks to several atmospheric rivers during the month of February, the San Bernardino Valley Water Conservation District is celebrating a record-breaking year for groundwater recharge in 2023.

“The district soundly surpassed our 100-year water recharge record from the year 1923 when we had recharged 84,981-acre feet (AF) of water,” says Betsy Miller Vixie, San Bernardino Valley Water Conservation District’s General Manager. “In 2023, we totaled 87,914 AF of water collected in the district’s basin, which includes 15,513 AF from the State Water Project.”

That figure does not include water that naturally recharges within the river system on District-owned land. According to the District, reviewing data going back to 1912, 2023 is the district’s best yield for more than 100 years.

Since 1912, the San Bernardino Valley Water Conservation District has conserved more than 1.41-million-acre feet gallons of water by diverting the natural flow of the Santa Ana River and Mill Creek into 71 percolation basins. This allows the water to collect and seep naturally into the ground, where it can be pumped out for future use.

The district also believes that early rains from February’s atmospheric rivers have already resulted in more than 750 million gallons of stormwater falling in the region. That water captured and stored is enough to handle the indoor use needs of 43,000 Inland Empire residents for a year.

Looking to 2024, stormwater from the newly built Santa Ana River Enhanced Recharge Project basins on district property began capturing water on January 7. This collaborative joint-agency project, led by the San Bernardino Valley Municipal Water District, will increase capacity for recharge into the Bunker Hill Groundwater Basin by 80,000-acre feet each year.

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