Residents of Beaumont will see a new construction project as they drive through the intersection of Beaumont and Brookside avenues.

The San Gorgonio Pass Water Agency is constructing a new groundwater recharge facility at the site. Construction will begin the week of April 23.

The facility is required to increase reliability of imported water supplies and to help meet increasing local demands.

“We have recently obtained some new water supplies for the region and are negotiating to obtain some more. We need to have a place to store this water locally,” said water board president, David Fenn. “This facility will enable us to store the water underground.”

The agency has been working on the project since it purchased the land in bankruptcy after the 2008 recession.

“This agency saw a large piece of property that was available at a below market price and we purchased it, knowing that it would be an excellent site for a future recharge facility,” Fenn said.

A groundwater recharge facility consists of a number of large ponds. Water imported from the State Water Project is piped to the ponds, where it sinks into the ground to replenish local aquifers. The site is located adjacent to Noble Creek, which means the percolation rate, or rate at which water sinks into the ground, is much higher, making it an efficient site.

The East Branch Extension, the portion of the State Water Project that conveys water to the Pass, is under Orchard Street in Cherry Valley. The water will travel from the East Branch Extension to the new recharge facility through a pipeline under Beaumont Avenue, constructed by the Agency several years ago.

“We recognize that the construction site is adjacent to three schools and student safety is our number one priority,” said Jeff Davis, general manager of the water agency. “We are working with our contractor, Pro-Craft Construction, and the school district to ensure that students and parents will be able to move safely through the area during construction.”

Construction is expected to last into the fall.

The San Gorgonio Pass Water Agency, based in Beaumont, is a wholesale water agency that purchases water from the state of California and sells it to local water agencies to replenish local groundwater basins.

The Agency’s service area runs from Calimesa to Cabazon. For more information, call the water agency at (951) 845-2577.

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