Water is precious. That's why we work hard to make sure we capture whatever surface flow we can from winter rain and snowmelt, and hold it in recharge basins so it sinks deep into the ground. Our local Bunker Hill Basin is much like a bank: Regular deposits ensure we are better prepared for hard times. Too many withdrawals without deposits, and you can find yourself running on empty.
At first glance, the area looks desolate, hardly a place for a wildlife refuge. But myriad tracks in the soft sand reveal the complex relationships of its native species: kangaroo rats, cactus wrens and an array of predators including great horned owls, coyotes and rattlesnakes.
At a time when communities throughout the state are jostling for water resilience and independence, the San Bernardino Valley Water Conservation District today marks its 90th year of supporting local groundwater to serve surrounding communities.
A successful 90-year history, including the completion of several collaborative projects, have made the most of local water recharge capabilities, with more work planned for enhanced storage in the future.
Record-breaking rainfall on Dec. 14 brought a rush of water into the Wash, flowing at a rate of 350 cubic feet per second through the Plunge Creek Conservation Project. More than 350 million gallons of water (1,295-acre feet) was recharged from that storm -- enough to serve 9,100 people for an entire year. The high flows also resulted in significant restoration at Plunge Creek as the water covered overgrown, weedy areas with sand -- a natural process critical to the health and survival of native and endangered species.