By: Parimal M. Rohit
HEMET — The Metropolitan Water District of Southern California (MWDSC) announced it is extending the Diamond Valley Lake boat launch ramp less than one month after it was closed. Boaters will be able to return to the water in November when the middle three lanes of the 11-lane structure are extended by 120 feet, according to the water district.
Board members announced in mid-May the boat ramp will be extended to an elevation of 1,640 feet and correspond with lake levels of approximately 293,000 acre-feet. Diamond Valley currently holds about 372,000 acre-feet of water, according to the board.
“Diamond Valley Lake has played an essential role in meeting the region’s water supply needs during the past four years. Southern California would be in a much more serious water supply situation today had it not been for the water that has been withdrawn from this lake,” Metropolitan board Chairman Randy Record stated. “If there is a positive side to the water challenges created by this historic drought, it’s that it has provided us with the opportunity to take advantage of low lake levels to complete the boat launch ramp.”
MWDSC allocated $500,000 to pay for the extension. The extension will be completed in July.
According to district officials, Diamond Valley Lake is at 46 percent of water storage capacity. The lake, which is also a drinking water reservoir, is one of the largest bodies of water in Riverside County. District officials shut down the lake to private boaters on April 15 after its water levels began to drop below the current ramp. The board stated it estimates water levels will recede to its lowest levels since the lake was filled by MWDSC in 2000.
Water levels have dropped by about 100 feet since 2012, officially the first year of California’s current drought.
The original 11-lane launch ramp opened in 2003; district officials extended the ramp to 490 feet long in 2004. In 2009, the ramp’s three middle lanes were extended another 250 feet.