New facility captures water from Seven Oaks Dam for 1 million Inland users

New facility captures water from Seven Oaks Dam for 1 million Inland users
  • Water flows into a plunge pool below Seven Oaks Dam above Highland on Thursday, May 23, 2019. (Photo by Will Lester, Inland Valley Daily Bulletin/SCNG)

  • Water sits in a sedimentation basin below Seven Oaks Dam above Highland on Thursday, May 23, 2019. (Photo by Will Lester, Inland Valley Daily Bulletin/SCNG)

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  • A dam visitor stands atop the intake tower behind Seven Oaks Dam above Highland on Thursday, May 23, 2019. Earlier this year the intake tower was 10 feet under water. (Photo by Will Lester, Inland Valley Daily Bulletin/SCNG)

  • Water level markers sit on the backside of Seven Oaks Dam above Highland on Thursday, May 23, 2019. (Photo by Will Lester, Inland Valley Daily Bulletin/SCNG)

  • Dam tender Martin Worthington talks with visitors within the access tunnel inside Seven Oaks Dam above Highland on Thursday, May 23, 2019. (Photo by Will Lester, Inland Valley Daily Bulletin/SCNG)

  • Water flows into a plunge pool at the base of Seven Oaks Dam above Highland on Thursday, May 23, 2019. (Photo by Will Lester, Inland Valley Daily Bulletin/SCNG)

  • Slide gates are lifted below Seven Oaks Dam above Highland on Thursday, May 23, 2019 to allow water to flow into a sedimentation basin. (Photo by Will Lester, Inland Valley Daily Bulletin/SCNG)

  • Water flows towards a plunge pool at the base of Seven Oaks Dam above Highland on Thursday, May 23, 2019. (Photo by Will Lester, Inland Valley Daily Bulletin/SCNG)

  • Visitors to Seven Oaks Dam above Highland walk through an access tunnel within the dam on Thursday, May 23, 2019. (Photo by Will Lester, Inland Valley Daily Bulletin/SCNG)

  • Water flows into a plunge pool at the base of Seven Oaks Dam above Highland on Thursday, May 23, 2019. (Photo by Will Lester, Inland Valley Daily Bulletin/SCNG)

  • Slide gates are lifted below Seven Oaks Dam above Highland on Thursday, May 23, 2019. (Photo by Will Lester, Inland Valley Daily Bulletin/SCNG)

  • Slide gates are lifted below Seven Oaks Dam above Highland on Thursday, May 23, 2019. (Photo by Will Lester, Inland Valley Daily Bulletin/SCNG)

  • Slide gates are lifted below Seven Oaks Dam above Highland on Thursday, May 23, 2019. (Photo by Will Lester, Inland Valley Daily Bulletin/SCNG)

  • Water sits in a sedimentation basin below Seven Oaks Dam above Highland on Thursday, May 23, 2019. (Photo by Will Lester, Inland Valley Daily Bulletin/SCNG)

  • Slide gates are lifted below Seven Oaks Dam above Highland on Thursday, May 23, 2019 to allow water to flow into a sedimentation basin. (Photo by Will Lester, Inland Valley Daily Bulletin/SCNG)

  • Slide gates are lifted below Seven Oaks Dam above Highland on Thursday, May 23, 2019 to allow water to flow into a sedimentation basin. (Photo by Will Lester, Inland Valley Daily Bulletin/SCNG)

  • A marker shows the Seven Oaks Dam’s highest water level from 2005 above Highland on Thursday, May 23, 2019. (Photo by Will Lester, Inland Valley Daily Bulletin/SCNG)

  • The face of Seven Oaks Dam as seen above Highland on Thursday, May 23, 2019. (Photo by Will Lester, Inland Valley Daily Bulletin/SCNG)

  • Rain drops drip from a railing as water flows towards a plunge pool at the base of Seven Oaks Dam above Highland on Thursday, May 23, 2019. (Photo by Will Lester, Inland Valley Daily Bulletin/SCNG)

  • Water flows into a plunge pool at the base of Seven Oaks Dam above Highland on Thursday, May 23, 2019. (Photo by Will Lester, Inland Valley Daily Bulletin/SCNG)

  • Dam visitors stand atop the intake tower behind Seven Oaks Dam above Highland on Thursday, May 23, 2019. Earlier this year the intake tower was 10 feet under water. (Photo by Will Lester, Inland Valley Daily Bulletin/SCNG)

  • Slide gates are lifted below Seven Oaks Dam above Highland on Thursday, May 23, 2019 to allow water to flow into a sedimentation basin. (Photo by Will Lester, Inland Valley Daily Bulletin/SCNG)

  • Slide gates are lifted below Seven Oaks Dam above Highland on Thursday, May 23, 2019 to allow water to flow into a sedimentation basin. (Photo by Will Lester, Inland Valley Daily Bulletin/SCNG)

  • A vehicle climbs the road up the face of Seven Oaks Dam above Highland on Thursday, May 23, 2019. (Photo by Will Lester, Inland Valley Daily Bulletin/SCNG)

  • The reservoir and intake tower behind Seven Oaks Dam above Highland as seen on Thursday, May 23, 2019. Earlier this year the intake tower was 10 feet under water. (Photo by Will Lester, Inland Valley Daily Bulletin/SCNG)

  • The face of Seven Oaks Dam as seen above Highland on Thursday, May 23, 2019 as water pours into the plunge pool at the base of the earthen dam. (Photo by Will Lester, Inland Valley Daily Bulletin/SCNG)

  • Dam tender Martin Worthington talks with visitors within the access tunnel inside Seven Oaks Dam above Highland on Thursday, May 23, 2019. (Photo by Will Lester, Inland Valley Daily Bulletin/SCNG)

  • Water flows towards a plunge pool at the base of Seven Oaks Dam above Highland on Thursday, May 23, 2019. (Photo by Will Lester, Inland Valley Daily Bulletin/SCNG)

  • Water flows into a plunge pool at the base of Seven Oaks Dam above Highland on Thursday, May 23, 2019. (Photo by Will Lester, Inland Valley Daily Bulletin/SCNG)

  • Slide gates are lifted below Seven Oaks Dam above Highland on Thursday, May 23, 2019 to allow water into a sedimentation basin. (Photo by Will Lester, Inland Valley Daily Bulletin/SCNG)

  • Slide gates are lifted below Seven Oaks Dam above Highland on Thursday, May 23, 2019 to allow water to flow into a sedimentation basin. (Photo by Will Lester, Inland Valley Daily Bulletin/SCNG)

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A facility designed to increase water supply reliability for the Inland area was dedicated in a light rain at the foot of the hulking Seven Oaks Dam near Highland on Thursday, May 23.


Officials used a new concrete diversion box to move water rushing from the dam to a new sedimentation basin and beyond. The water is intended to spread out and seep into a groundwater basin, which officials have said is historically low due to a 20-year drought. Residents from Yucaipa to Colton and users in Riverside County will benefit from the project.


With the first phase of the Enhanced Recharge Project complete, the second phase will more than double the number, size and capacity of local recharge basins.



More numbers:



  •  1 million: people whose homes and businesses will be supported by this water

  • $14 million: estimated cost for the project

  • 19 years: time it took to secure rights to capture water from the dam

  • 9 years: time it took to permit, design and construct the first phase

  • 80,000 acre-feet: amount of Santa Ana River water permitted to be used

  • 75% of the water supply of Inland water agencies comes from the local groundwater basin

  • 1 dam

  • 3 agencies collaborated on the project: San Bernardino Valley Municipal Water District, Western Municipal Water District, and the San Bernardino Valley Water Conservation District

  • 5 million: acre feet of water held by the San Bernardino Groundwater Basin when full

  • 1 million acre feet: amount the basin is down by — which is about the amount 2 million households would use in a year

  • 160 feet: depth of water behind the dam on Thursday

  • 250 cubic feet per second: rate of water released by the dam on Thursday