Watermaster Activities

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Protecting Our Water Resources

As a water rights steward for the Santa Ana River Watershed, Western works to protect this important resource by carefully monitoring the quantities of water taken by all regional agencies with rights to this critical resource. Western’s general manager also serves as a court-appointed guardian or watermaster, as required by two 1969 court rulings or adjudications. These judgments determined the rights of the watershed users and other watershed entities.

Watermaster Functions

The court designated four public agencies – including Western – to represent the interests of the upper and lower areas of the Santa Ana River and gave the agencies responsibility to oversee the watershed and fulfill court-ordered obligations. Western is involved in four watermaster functions:

  • Chino Groundwater Basin – 1978 groundwater adjudication
  • Santa Ana River – 1969 surface water rights
  • San Bernardino Basin Area – 1969 groundwater adjudication
  • Santa Margarita River – 1964 surface and groundwater adjudication

Watershed Steward

Western plays another vital role in protecting the watershed as an integral partner of the Santa Ana Watershed Project Authority (SAWPA). SAWPA’s goal is a sustainable Santa Ana River Watershed that’s salt-balanced, drought-proofed and supports economic and environmental vitality, as well as an enhanced quality of life. Western works in partnership with Eastern Municipal Water District,Inland Empire Utilities Agency, Orange County Water District and San Bernardino Valley Municipal Water District in maximizing water resources within the watershed.

Additional Resources

Watermaster Celebrates 50 Years of Cooperation and Collaboration 

April 17th, 2019 marks the 50th anniversary of the settlement of two major lawsuits regarding surface water and groundwater rights on the Santa Ana River. Together the agreements, known as the 1969 Settlement, shaped modern water resources management along the Santa Ana River and ushered in a new era of stability and cooperation.

4-12-19 - SAR Watermaster 50th Event-73

50th Anniversary Celebration – held April 12, 2019 at The Fieldhouse Terrace in Norco, CA

Pictured above, left to right:

  • Doug Headrick, San Bernardino Valley Municipal Water District (SBVMWD) Watermaster (current)
  • Robert Reiter, former SBVMWD Watermaster
  • Roy Herndon, Orange County Water District (OCWD) Watermaster (current)
  • Don Harriger, former Western Municipal Water District  (WMWD) Watermaster
  • Samuel Fuller, former SBVMWD Watermaster
  • William Mills, Jr. , former OCWD Watermaster
  • Michael R. Markus, OCWD Watermaster (current)
  • Shivaji Deshmukh, Inland Empire Utilities Agency Watermaster (current)
  • Bill Dendy, former OCWD Watermaster
4-12-19 - SAR Watermaster 50th Event-68

Pictured above:

  • Left: Roy Herndon, OCWD Current Watermaster
  • Right: Art Baggett, former chair, State Water Resources Control Board
4-12-19 - SAR Watermaster 50th Event-57

Pictured above, Congressman Ken Calvert (42nd District)

4-12-19 - SAR Watermaster 50th Event-13

Pictured above, left, middle, and right:

  • Don Harriger, former WMWD Watermaster
  • Art Littleworth, former WMWD legal counsel
    at the time of settlement
  • Peggy Littleworth, wife of Mr. Littleworth