Diamond Valley Lake to re-open boat launch

HEMET — California’s historic drought conditions appear to be easing up as rising water levels at Diamond Valley Lake in Hemet means the local boat launch ramp will be reopening later this month.

The Metropolitan Water District announced on April 26 the boat launch ramp at Diamond Valley Lake will re-open in mid-May, more than one year after launching was suspended due to low water levels.

Boat launching will officially begin on May 18, just ahead of Memorial Day weekend, according to Metropolitan Water District staff.

“With Metropolitan making its first significant water deliveries into the lake in more than three years, Diamond Valley Lake near Hemet in southwest Riverside County is scheduled to reopen to boat launching on May 18,” an official statement from the district stated. “Boat launches were suspended in April 2015 as water levels receded to record lows, dropping below the lake’s launch ramp.”

Rising lake levels at Diamond Valley Lake has coincided with other water agencies requesting the State Water Resources Control Board (SWRCB) to ease drought-induced restrictions.

“Water agencies statewide are continuing to implement the unprecedented mandatory, emergency water use restrictions although drought conditions have been substantially alleviated by this winter’s welcome precipitation and snowpack,” David Bolland, a special projects manager with the Association of California Water Agencies (ACWA), wrote in an April 14 letter to SWRCB.

“ACWA believes it is time to end the State Water Board’s mandatory water use restrictions statewide,” Bolland later wrote in his letter.

Metropolitan Water District’s Board of Directors Chair Randy Record said Diamond Valley Lake is a valuable asset for local anglers and boaters.

“We’re keenly aware of what Diamond Valley Lake means to the surrounding region, which was first impacted by the recession and then by drought,” Record said in a statement. “Improved supply conditions, particularly in Northern California, have helped loosen the drought’s grip and allowed us to reintroduce boating and fishing on the lake.”

The water district shut down Diamond Valley Lake’s boat launch ramp in April 2015 after lake levels reportedly dropped about 115 vertical feet. District officials used the dropped water level to extend three lanes of the 11-lane launch ramp.

“In late March, Metropolitan began making water deliveries to help replenish storage and raise lake levels,” Metropolitan Water District staff stated. “By the middle of May water levels are expected to rise sufficiently to safely allow boat launches on the extended ramp. Once the lake reopens to launching, all boats — powerboats, fishing boats, sailboats, rowboats, kayaks, canoes and certain types of catamarans—and respective engines must pass inspection and be registered. All boats also must be inspected for quagga mussels.”

District staff recommends anglers and boaters bring their respective vessels to the lake for inspection and registration between 7 a.m.-3 p.m. on May 7, 8, 14 and 15.

Anglers and boaters could also have their vessels inspected at Lake Skinner Recreation Area (37701 Warren Road, Temecula, Calif.); boats launched at Lake Skinner must be dry for seven consecutive days before launching at Diamond Valley Lake.

More information about the boat launch re-opening or reservations can be found online at dvmarina.com or by calling the marina office at 951-926-7201 or 800-590-LAKE.

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