San Gorgonio Pass Water Agency receives $2M for groundwater monitoring

Oct. 23, 2023
The funding awarded to SGPWA will help to install four monitoring wells to expand the SGPS GSA groundwater observation network in the San Gorgonio Pass Subbasin.

The San Gorgonio Pass Water Agency (SGPWA) received state funding of more than $2 million for a project to install four nested casing monitoring wells in the San Gorgonio Pass Subbasin.

The project will expand the SGPS GSA groundwater observation network to fill data holes that are key to supporting sustainability of the subbasin, which encompasses approximately 35,965 acres.

“The monitoring wells will provide critical insight into groundwater levels, quality, and flow patterns for the area,” said Vice President Mickey Valdivia. “Groundwater is essential to securing reliable supplies for current and future water users, and we are committed to understanding and safeguarding this precious resource.”

The San Gorgonio Pass Subbasin serves disadvantaged communities, including the City of Banning, Banning Heights, Cabazon and the Morongo Band of Mission Indians.

The multi-year endeavor will evaluate the subbasin’s groundwater, including quantity, movement across basin boundaries, geologic faults, and storage unit boundaries that need to be better understood. The project will identify spatial data gaps and pinpoint geologically unique areas within the subbasin. This knowledge is vital for making informed decisions about the local water resources.

Among other benefits, the project helps meet the state’s Human Right to Water initiative. Due to the Apple Fire in 2020, Banning Heights now relies exclusively on groundwater. Data collected will reveal crucial supply and quality information for this area and the other communities served by the subbasin.

The project represents a group effort by the SGPS GSA. Member agencies of the SGPS GSA include SGPWA, Banning Heights Mutual Water Company (BHMWC), Cabazon Water District (CWD), the City of Banning, Desert Water Agency (DWA), and Mission Springs Water District (MSWD). Together, the entities are working toward improved groundwater management in the region.

Scheduled to be completed by March 2025, the project’s data will inform the SGPS GSA’s 2030 Groundwater Sustainability Plan (GSP) update.

The grant is part of the Department of Water Resources (DWR) Sustainable Groundwater Management (SGM) Grant Program Implementation Round 2, which recently recommended funding of $187 million to 32 groundwater subbasins.