While water flows through much of Metropolitan's service area powered by gravity, it takes five pumping plants along the Colorado River Aqueduct in the California Mojave Desert to ensure its final destination to Lake Mathews.
These pumping plants move water supplies from the Colorado River Aqueduct with a total lift of 1,614 feet. All pumping plants have nine pumps, and each of the nine units has a nominal rated capacity of at least 225 cubic feet per second. Each pump is driven by a vertical, three-phase, 60-cycle, 6,900-volt synchronous motor, which is totally enclosed and water-cooled. Each Intake motor develops 9,000 horsepower.
Iron Mountain: This pumping plant is 70 miles from Copper Basin Reservoir. Since a natural storage reservoir was not available a 108 acre-foot capacity reservoir was constructed.
Eagle Mountain: The pumping plant is 110 miles west of Whitsett Intake.
Hydroelectric Power Plants
Hydroelectric power plants were constructed at several locations within the distribution system to generate electricity and to control the pressure within the system. Metropolitan embarked on a hydroelectric power plant retrofit program in the late 70s through the mid-80s, in part to take advantage of federal energy incentives for alternative energy sources resulting from the energy crises and to help offset the cost of pumping.
Metropolitan maintains 16 hydroelectric power recovery plants, the largest of which is the Hiram W. Wadsworth Pumping/Hydro-generating facility at Diamond Valley Lake. Wadsworth has a nameplate capacity of 30 megawatts, and is capable of generating 39.6 megawatts. It has a pumping capacity of 2,100 cubic feet per second, with 12 pumps of 6,000 horsepower each. Etiwanda is the second largest facility at 24 megawatts nameplate capacity. The 14 other plants have nameplate capacities ranging from 1 to 10 megawatts each, for a total output of 131 megawatts.