The Elsinore Valley exists today because of water. Located in a desert region, early settlers made do with scarce local water resources. Life was hard. Today, the Valley is thriving. It supports a $287 million local economy and an enviable quality of life - all supported by water. The Elsinore Valley Municipal Water District is proud of our role as stewards of this precious resource. From our formation in 1950, we have worked to harness local water resources and provide our customers with a safe, affordable water supply. As we celebrate over 50 years of service to this community, please join us in taking a historical look at some of the important milestones that have led us to where we are today.
On December 5, 1950, Lake Elsinore residents voted 9 to 1 in favor of the formation of the 52,502-acre Elsinore Valley Municipal Water District. Water tables were receding and local water rights were slipping into the hands of outsiders. The residents and community leaders saw the need for a municipal water district, a legal entity that could protect their water and secure imported water from Metropolitan Water District.
With Lake Elsinore completely dry and tales of a marine monster inhabiting the lake, obtaining additional sources of water was a common topic of conversation. EVMWD initiated an annexation proceeding with Eastern Municipal Water District (EMWD). It also examined the option becoming part of EMWD. Issues of local control, customer service, taxation and the fact that two agencies were non contiguous countered the plan to merge.
For the first time in its history, Lake Elsinore became public property. Voters approved a 1.6 million bond issue for construction of the 112,000-ft loop line around the lake, construction of the Canyon Lake Water Treatment Plant and for construction of the Lakeview Siphon, the point of connection to the Metropolitan Water District (MWD) water through WMWD facilities. The Railroad Canyon Storage Agreement was signed wherein EVMWD received permanent right to store 3000 acre feet of water in the Railroad Canyon Reservoir and the right to build a 15 million gallon per day (MGD) water purification plant on Temescal property beside the dam.
The Railroad Canyon Water Treatment Plant construction was approved. The first EVMWD rate schedule was adopted charging the customers $2.50 for the first 1000 cubic feet of water. This year the first Elsinore Water District (EWD) dissolution effort was supported by a group of dissatisfied landowners within the EWD service area. Unhappy with EWD's water rates, the movement collected 2,000 petition signatures, or less than 1% of the voters, and failed in its efforts.
Lake Elsinore was accepted into the California State Park System. Imported MWD water from the Colorado River flowed for the first time down the San Jacinto River channel into the Railroad Canyon Reservoir. As imported MWD water entered the water mains in the City service area, local activitists voiced their support of sulphur water. These were the bathhouse owners who advertised hot mineral baths. A court battle ensued. In an attempt to appease the public wanting the sulphur water supply, the City Council appealed to the state make an exception to its rule and issue a permit for distribution. in 1965, the City completed a dual pipe line to satisfy the pro-mineral water customers. James H. Keller was hired as the first General Manager.
And the rain came! After several years of drought, Lake Elsinore received a much needed 20 inches of rain in some parts of the watershed filling the lake to a shallow eight feet. Eight mutual water companies were absorbed by EVMWD. Metered water was sold for approximately $22.71 per acre foot (326,000 gallons)
Founding board member, president and rancher Everett L. Grubb resigned his post. In February of 1959, Board members of the South Elsinore Mutual Water Company which later merged with EVMWD, became the targets of a disgruntled landowner who brought a gun to a board meeting and opened fire, causing the death of the agency's superintendent. Another person was shot while remaining board members jumped out of the windows for cover. The board secretary confronted the killer and he laid down his weapon.
MWD's giant new valve was opened at the Lakeview aqueduct and more than 29,000 acre feet of water flowed down the San Jacinto River, through Canyon Lake to Lake Elsinore. Lake Elsinore recreation became a reality.
EVMWD purchased the City of Lake Elsinore's aging sewer system. That same year, the District received state and federal loans and grants to fund a new regional sewer system under the Clean Water Act. The .75 MGD Railroad Canyon Wastewater Treatment Plant was completed and online serving the Canyon Lake Community.
The board entered into an agreement with the U.S. Bureau of Reclamation for a $39.6 million loan for Lake Stabilization that later was known as the Lake Management Project. After a yearlong stall, the project finally moved forward in 1986. The Horsethief Canyon annexation added 960 acres to the District and the California Oaks annexation added another 785 acres.
The city of Lake Elsinore water system was purchased. A petition with 4,000 signatures was submitted to the board requesting a citizen's vote on the Lake Management Project. The issue was sent to court, and in 1987 a judge ruled in favor of the District. Needing additional imported water, the District entered into an agreement with Eastern Municipal Water District for capacity in the Auld Valley 36 inch pipeline from Lake Skinner. That project brought an additional 27,000 acre feet annually to the water system.
The Regional Wastewater Treatment Plant with a 2 MGD capacity was dedicated and in operation.
Santa Ana Watershed Project Authority (SAWPA) was hired as Lake Management Project managers. A citizens Blue Ribbon Committee was appointed to study the sewer rate program. The same year, the District joined forces with the City of Lake Elsinore, the County of Riverside, and the State of California became a stakeholder in the Lake Elsinore Management Authority (LEMA).
Design work was started to expand the Regional Wastewater Treatment Plant to 4 MGD capacity. The District entered into an agreement with Rancho California Water District to provide sewer service to our southern division in Murrieta now known as California Oaks.
EVMWD acquired the Temescal Water Company assets and assumed its operation following a friendly condemnation. Lawsuits against the acquisition that were filed by Lee Lake Water District and the Cities or Riverside and Corona were unsuccessful. The Temescal service area became the Temescal Division.
A financial master plan was approved and adopted. Active water customers number 15,511. One board member known as "The Whistle Blower" resigned his directorship. The Cottonwood Hills annexation added 1,969 acres to the District.
The Temescal Canyon area was annexed, expanding District boundaries by 3,001 acres. The board authorized the filing of a Federal Regulatory Commission (FERC) application for a hydroelectric project at Lake Elsinore, which later became known as the Lake Elsinore Advanced Pumped Storage Project.
Frustrated with the lack of progress despite community efforts for water quality in the lake, EVMWD adopted a policy that it would not be the lead agency in future efforts. A new Administrative Code was adopted which codified all current EVMWD rules, regulations, rates, and policies. The Old Town Waterline Replacement Project started in downtown Lake Elsinore.
Negotiations to merge with the Murrieta County Water District were initiated and continued throughout the year. The District withdrew from the LEMA effective the end of 1995. Railroad Canyon Dam improvements began widening the spillway, installation of new anchors and improvements on the gravity walls. Improvements in the structure were designed to enable the dam to withstand a "1,000 year flood event."
Agreement on terms could not be reached, so merger discussions with Murrieta CWD ceased. A study was initiated by the Farm Mutual Water Company investigating the possibility of EVMWD providing sewer service to Farm customers using the regional sewer system.
Yielding to pressure from the public, the board of directors decided to stop work on the Pumped Storage Project. A board notion for an agreement with Hydro Company to take over the project was passed. Increasing public concern for lake stabilization water quality initiated the need for community involvement to address these issues. Taking the lead in this effort, the District began the formation and sponsorship of the Reclaimed Water Task Force. The Task Force prepared the Public Acceptance Issues and Recommendations White Paper to the EVMWD board and to the City of Lake Elsinore and each passed resolutions in support of the changes.
Negotiations between the District and EWD ensued regarding EWD customer's non-payment of sewer service bills for service provided by EVMWD. No agreement could reached between the two agencies, so the EVMWD board adopted a resolution placing the delinquent charges on the property tax rolls. Temescal Valley and Wildomar Community Facilities Districts were formed to finance new water facilities in both areas and to pay for a proportionate share of the Temescal Valley Pipeline Project.
In January, the Reclaimed Water Task Force was reinstated and called Task Force 2000. In March, the Board approved participation in the Joint Powers Authority, being formed to plan for improvements to the San Jacinto and Lake Elsinore Watersheds to be funded by Proposition 13 funds (15M). A Joint Statement of Cooperation was approved by the Board and the City of Lake Elsinore.
Documents and Board actions were finalized to secure the Issuance of COP Series 2000 and the Wildomar CFD Financing. Staff was also successful at relocating LEAF facilities to the District’s Mission Trail building so the expansion of the 4MG Treatment Plant could begin on schedule. A three-day celebration was held in September to commemorate the District’s 50th Anniversary. PERS 2% @ 55 and Military Service Credit was also set in place. September 14th, a letter agreement was approved with Enron and a FERC Application was filed in connection with the Lake Elsinore Advanced Pump Project (LEAP).
In January, the Notice of Completion for the Wildomar CFD 98-2 Water Improvements was filed. A Memorandum of Understanding with the Department of Water Resources to Promote Conjunctive Use Projects and Programs in Elsinore Valley Basins was approved and the Board approved an Agreement for Participation in Southern California Edison's kW Reduction Rate Program. The Robards Way Lift Station and Force Main and Horsethief Booster Station Projects were completed. This year, implementation of a salary survey and recommendations took place, and following that, representation by the MTA and EA changed for several employees.
The City of Lake Elsinore established suit over the Tilley and Fill and Operate Agreements due to the water level decreasing below the 1240’ established level. An Emergency NPDES Permit application was filed to allow recycled water as a lake supplement.
General Manager Ronald E. Young joined the District on January 14, replacing John V. Rossi. Also this year, for the first time in history, reclaimed water was put into Lake Elsinore for water level replenishment. The District also aggressively sought funding from Proposition 13, and entered into a contract with LESJWA for Island Well Improvements Grant funding. The 4MG-8MG Regional Wastewater Treatment Plant Expansion was completed and the Tomlin Tanks 1 and 2 were replaced.
In January, the Board adopted a resolution in support of a joint environmental process to include the Valley-Rainbow 500-kV Interconnect Project and the Talega-Escondido/Valley-Serrano Interconnect Project. Submittals were given to the FERC for approval of the Hydro Electric Project.
Due to drought conditions and other water quality issues, the Temescal Water Division cost 67% capacity of its potable well water production necessitating the establishment of a block rate structure for the Temescal Water Division. This was done to encourage conservation and to cover costs of imported water needed to meet the Division’s demands.
The Windsor Homes CFD 2002-1 was formed, consisting of the development of 96 homes on 31.95 acres located east of the I-15 on Clinton Keith Road in Wildomar. Formation of the CFD will provide financing for the construction and acquisition of public facilities in addition to the payment of EVMWD’s water and sewer capacity and connection fees, and Lake Elsinore Unified School District fees.
Agreement for the Operation and Maintenance of the Axial Flow Water Pump Destratification System for Lake Elsinore
Approval of Defense Coordination Agreement with the City of Lake Elsinore
In August, the EVMWD Board (and Meeks and Daley Water Company Board) Approved Agreements and for the formation and operations of Water Employee Services Authority (WESA), a Joint Powers Authority (JPA).
This year, rehabilitation work was completed at the Canyon Lake Water Treatment Plant which included replacement of the clarifier and other work to comply with California regulations.
On March 5, 2004 an event was held to commemorate the rehabilitation of the Island Wells, a project undertaken by LESJWA, the City and EVMWD to pump water into Lake Elsinore.
Upgrade of the water system above Lakeland Village. The MCC Improvement Project was completed. Reservoir remediation and corrosion repair took place for 30 steel reservoirs, including cathodic protection systems, coatings, and piping improvements to increase water circulation within the tanks. Supervisory Control and Data Acquisition (SCADA) system replacement. Well funding agreements were negotiated with the City for Lincoln and Terra Cotta Wells. A Memorandum Of Understanding was completed, which stated that the City will maintain a park in which the District will retain an easement for use.
In September, AB 2439, Special Legislation was passed which granted an exemption for recreation in water bodies maintained for domestic use. Railroad Canyon Reservoir has allowed recreational use since 1957; however, it was determined that due to EVMWD’s strict water treatment standards and guidelines it is safe for the lake to continue recreational use as well as for drinking water supplies.
The District’s Photovoltaic System was installed and the Unveiling Ceremony took place on March 25, 2006.
A Phosphorus Removal System was installed at the Regional Wastewater Treatment Plant (RWWTP) using a Prop. 13 grant from Lake Elsinore San Jacinto Watershed Authority (LESJWA).
EVMWD obtained $2M grant through LESJWA for pipeline to deliver reclaimed water to Lake Elsinore and awarded construction contract.
Automatic Meter Reading system was completed.
More than tripled Ultra Low Flow Toilet (ULF) rebates over 2005.
Performed a review of the District’s water distribution system to identify locations where the installation of control valves would minimize customer impact during repair operations. In 2006, three major loop line valves were installed as well as six additional secondary control valves to reduce the need for high lining and further minimize customer impact.
EVMWD and the Meeks and Daley Mutual Water company entered into a Joint Powers Agreement creating the Water Employee Services Authority.
There were 30 projects underway, with a $110 million dollar CIP projects, some of which were the El Toro Transmission Main, 20-inch Well Transmission Main, Plastic Services Replacement project and the Inland Valley Booster Station. The Lake Elsinore Aeration Project was also in progress.
Projects underway this year included: Back Basin Water Treatment Plant, Washington Ave Lift Station, Longhorn Drive Sewer, Terra Cotta Well Drilling, and EVMWD was preparing for the start of the Lakeshore Trunk Sewer – North Reach project.
Projects underway this year included: Lakeshore Trunk Sewer – North Reach, Lakeland Village Reservoir & Pump Station, Plastic Services Replacement Project- 08’-09’, Wildomar Recycled Water – Phase 1, Elsinore Line Replacement – Alberhill Segment, and the Walnut Street Sewer(Faith Baptist Church).
The $54.6 million operating Budget was approved on May 24, 2012, with no water or sewer rate increases. This is despite increases in costs of water from MWD and costly regulatory requirements. The public has done a great job of conserving water and keeping the District within its allocation.
Partnering with Animal Friends, EVMWD installed drinking fountains for pedestrians and pets along the Lake Elsinore Historic Downtown Riverwalk and Nature Trail.
This year, the Governor signed the Water Bond. The $7.545 billion water bond was approved overwhelmingly by California voters and promised to provide a significant infusion of funding for water projects and programs at a pivotal time in California water.
In August, EVMWD was presented with a $36,805 Environmental Solutions Grant from Wells Fargo. The funds were used to create an educational garden designed to inspire residential water conservation. The innovative project showcases Drought-tolerant plants and water saving irrigation methods.
On January 22, 2015, LAFCO approved the annexation of the territory known as the County Water Company of Riverside into EVMWD’s service boundary and clean water supply began flowing to those customers.
Also in January, the City of Lake Elsinore’s Chamber of Commerce voted EVMWD as the Large Business of the Year.
In March, EVMWD was awarded a $858,625 Grant for the Automated Metering Infrastructure DAC implementation project. The project implements an Automated Metering Infrastructure system among approximately 5,227 customers and will enable these EVMWD customers to detect leaks, view water usage, set alerts and gather reports about their home water system in real time through a wireless sensor network.
Two lawsuits were filed against EVMWD by the Canyon Lake Property Owners Association over a dispute relating to the historic Railroad Canyon Reservoir Lease Agreement.
Also this year, Governor Brown signed an executive order declaring the first ever Statewide Mandatory Water Reductions, proclaiming a drought state of emergency.