Helping Nature Store Our Water


In the clutches of California’s third driest year in a century, the San Bernardino Valley Water Conservation District reports higher than average recharge of local surface water when compared to other dry years.

Read more: Local water storage totals are excellent for a drought year

SBVWCD Newsletter

Our region is home to some of the best quality water in California.

Much of that has to do with work the District has been doing for nearly 100 years: capturing and recharging water from area rivers and streams into the Bunker Hill Groundwater Basin, which today serves some 70% of the local population.

This surface water, fed by pristine snowmelt from the nearby San Bernardino Mountains, is captured in percolation ponds where it seeps slowly through layers of sand and silt that filter out contaminants — just as nature intended.

This high-quality water blends with and improves the purity of existing groundwater, and enhances water resilience for our drought-prone community.

SBVWCD Newsletter

Mining operations this year brought higher than expected revenue to the Land Resources Enterprise Fund, which supports land management, planning, habitat, Wash Plan needs and other costs associated with lands held by the District. The District has negotiated its mining leases to guarantee a minimum amount of revenue each year, regardless of production. This year, production exceeded that minimum guarantee, resulting in added revenue and large stockpiles for ongoing projects.

SBVWCD Newsletter

A two-year partnership between the District and Steps4Life Community Services is showing a 75% success rate in helping people get back on their feet after experiencing homelessness. The District in 2019 entered into a mutually beneficial partnership to provide a house for the nonprofit's transitional programming in exchange for help establishing a homeless policy and training for district employees. To date, 25 people have successfully graduated from the program, with many enjoying self-sufficiency and employment with local businesses. Eight participants have either left the program or been transferred to higher levels of care.

SBVWCD newsletter
Twenty-five people have graduated from the transitional programming offered by Steps4Life at this District-owned house.  Steps4Life works with a number of organizations, including Redlands Police Department, Redlands Family Services, Mental Health Systems, Inc., Inland Valley Recovery Services, and Youth Hope. For more information, visit

SBVWCD Newsletter

Several wildlife agency partners accompanied District staff on various field tours of the wash to learn more about the progress being made on the Upper Santa Ana River Wash Habitat Conservation Plan, and to view critical areas covered by upcoming permit applications. The Wash Plan is a collaborative, integrated, and fiscally sound approach to land use that ensures improved capture and storage of water from rivers and streams; establishes habitat for sensitive, threatened, or endangered species; designates disturbed land areas for mining operations that support local jobs; and provides space for roads, trails and other public benefits. Agencies participating in the tours included the Regional Water Quality Control Board, California Department of Fish & Wildlife, and U.S. Army Corps of Engineers.