Big Bear Valley, CA – The Big Bear water sustainability project achieved a significant milestone on Tuesday, July 17th. This project when implemented will help maintain Big Bear Lake levels and enhance wildlife habitats while supporting long term water supplies in Big Bear.
The July 17th workshop included elected members and staff officials from BBARWA; Big Bear City Community Services District; City of Big Bear Lake Department of Water; Big Bear Municipal Water District; and Bear Valley Basin Groundwater Sustainability Agency. More than 30 representatives from these local water agencies met at Big Bear Regional Wastewater Agencies for the first phase of the Bear Valley Water Sustainability Project. Over the next 18 months key funding, governance and regulatory decisions will develop along with designs followed by construction of an extensive treatment facility and pipelines for this $44 million project,.
When complete this project will, each day, save 1.6 million gallons of water currently used to irrigate alfalfa fields in Lucerne Valley. All totaled 600 million gallons will be treated for nutrient removal, disinfection followed by reverse osmosis producing up to 2000 acre feet of high quality purified water each and every year. This process will provide a constant source of water for the Stanfield Marsh 145 acre Wildlife Waterfowl Preserve then flowing into Big Bear Lake for an additional five feet of lake levels during drought years. The endangered Unarmored Threespined Stickleback Shay Pond habitat will benefit as well with a constant source of clean water. Other indirect benefits include local groundwater storage and better snowmaking while in dry years. Further It’s expected to relieve a portion of BBMWD’s in-lieu water payments with wet year releases to the San Bernardino Basin which is significant benefit to this region.
Water Systems Consulting, Inc. (WSC) the engineering and management team updated the room on regulatory approvals and local, regional, state and federal funding options which include loans and outright grants. Tom Dodson & Associates will be tasked to complete the environmental impact report.
These five boards together for the first time and is a culmination of years of collaborative efforts identifying the benefits and greatest value with specific focus on a sustainable water source, renewable energy and environmental solutions. It was recently announced that Bear Valley Electric in collaboration with BBARWA signed an agreement identifying a major solar project on the BBARWA campus which is designed to further reduce expences for ratepayers.
“This is an important step toward a legacy water project for our community,” BBLDWP General Manager Reginald “Reggie” Lamson said. “The degree of collaboration and support from the partnering agencies is best-in-class, and a model for all water agencies for what is possible when we approach our water resource needs as one community and one water.”
“The BBCCSD General Manager Mary Reeves along with BBARWA General Manager David Lawrence agree “Together, we will keep a valuable water resource in the Valley helping support recreation and the wetland ecosystem around the lake.”