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For many years, the San Bernardino Valley has been challenged by prolonged drought, increased wildfires, and climate uncertainty. In response, the region is investing in collaborative solutions to diversify its water supply portfolio, recharge its groundwater basins, restore critical habitat and secure a sustainable water future. 


Watershed Connect is a regional infrastructure program, a network of forward-looking projects designed to achieve water supply reliability, climate resilience, and long-term ecological health of the Upper Santa Ana River (Upper SAR) Watershed.


The Upper SAR Watershed, spanning more than 850 square miles in San Bernardino and Riverside counties in Southern California, is a highly connected system of surface water, groundwater, and rich habitat that the region depends on for its local water supply.


This multiphase program includes interconnected water capture, recharge, storage, treatment, and conveyance projects. Watershed Connect will collectively maximize the use and reuse of local water resources, while attaining a healthy, functional river ecosystem that supports 22 federally- and state-protected species. 

Joint Powers Authority 

Watershed Connect is governed by the Upper Santa Ana River Watershed Infrastructure Financing Authority (USAR WIFA), a Joint Powers Authority representing the five participating agencies. 

Collectively, San Bernardino Valley Municipal Water District, San Bernardino Valley Water Conservation District, City of San Bernardino Municipal Water Department, Western Municipal Water District, and Yucaipa Valley Water District have come together to secure a reliable and sustainable water future for nearly 1 million people in the San Bernardino and Riverside counties.

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Improved Water Quality

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Resiliency in the Face of Climate Change

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Infrastructure Enhancements

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Improved Water Quality

Advanced treatment upgrades will improve regional water quality by reducing the amount of salt, nutrients, and emerging contaminants introduced to surface waters and groundwater basins. Proposed stormwater capture and treatments projects will produce high-quality water for blending with groundwater supplies high in total dissolved solids.

Ecological Health

Planned habitat mitigation and restoration initiatives will holistically enhance the ecological health of the Upper SAR Watershed, supporting the region’s urban, environmental, recreational, and economic needs.


Resiliency in the Face of Climate Change

The collection of forward-looking restoration projects will improve water supply security for the region. Investments in alternative water supplies, emergency storage, and system redundancies enhance the regions’ resilience to climate threats.

Infrastructure Enhancements

Modernization of existing infrastructure combined with new water movement systems are planned to create enhanced water resources. Upgrades, including pipeline protection initiatives and solar energy projects, will reduce climate-related vulnerabilities and ensure reliable services during natural disasters.

Drought Resiliency

The program’s ambitious stormwater capture, groundwater recharge, and water reuse projects position the region to sustain short and long-term droughts.

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