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Robert A. Skinner Treatment Plant

The Robert A. Skinner Treatment Plant is one of five water treatment plants of the Metropolitan Water District of Southern California.

Located south of Hemet in Riverside County, the Skinner water treatment plant supplies treated water for  roughly 4 million residents of  three Metropolitan Water District  member agencies: the Eastern and Western Municipal Water Districts in Riverside County and the San Diego County Water Authority.  It is the prime source of drinking water for the San Diego region.

From Mountain High…

The water stored in Lake Skinner and treated at this plant originates in the Rocky Mountains, travels down the Colorado River and flows through Metropolitan's 242-mile Colorado River Aqueduct.  In addition, water comes from Northern California rivers and streams that supply the State Water Project.

A multimillion-dollar expansion project  has made Skinner one of the largest treatment plants in the United States , delivering 630 million gallons per day., enough water to fill the Rose Bowl every three hours.

…To Your Kitchen Faucet

Looking at the treatment plant's complex web of pipes, pumps and sophisticated electronic gadgetry, filtration appears to be complicated.  Nonetheless, the basic filtration process is surprisingly simple and effective.  It uses items similar to those found in any home, garden or garage: grates and screens to catch large debris; sand, coal, and, in some cases, garnet used as filters to remove any remaining particles left in the water. Skinner has switched from chlorine to ozone disinfection as part of a district-wide conversion program.This plant is essentially two plants in one.  It is the only MWD facility which features both the conventional and direct filtration process.  The conventional treatment method includes large sedimentation basins that allow particles to settle to the bottom.  The direct filtration process relies on filter beds to remove the particles.  As always, MWD water meets or surpasses all state and federal water quality standards.

Fun, Fish and Wildlife

Lake Skinner provides a popular recreational spot for sailing and fishing.  The catch includes trout, bass and bluegill.  A large off-reservoir swimming area is available, as well as horseback riding, hiking trails, barbecues, a water splash play area and a 10,000-plus capacity amphitheatre .  The 6,000-acre Lake Skinner Park has 300 camp and RV sites, a snack bar, laundromat and camp store.

Metropolitan attempts to keep the reservoir open to the public year-around, however, the lake is closed for a few days during warmer months for treatment of algae growth.  Please call the Riverside County Regional Park & Open Space District for further information concerning park hours. (714) or (909) 926-1541.

Just The Facts

The water treatment plant is named for Robert A. Skinner, a Metropolitan general manager from 1962 to 1967.  An engineer, he was instrumental in negotiating the district's contract with the state Department of Water Resources for delivery of water from Northern California.

  • Dedication: October 2, 1976
  • Lake Skinner capacity: 44,000 acre-feet
  • Deepest point: 82 feet at the outlet tower.
  • Shoreline: 14 miles; 5 miles open for fishing
  • Dam: Earth-filled, 100 feet high and a mile across.

The mission of the Metropolitan Water District of Southern California is to provide its service area with adequate and reliable supplies of high quality water to meet present and future needs in an environmentally and economically responsible way.  Through its 26 member public agencies MWD provides about half the water used by approximately 19 million people in Los Angeles, Orange, San Diego, Riverside, San Bernardino and Ventura counties.

Photo of Skinner Treatment Plant

Robert A. Skinner Treatment Plant
33740 Borel Road
Winchester, CA 92596

Photo of Skinner Treatment Plant

Page updated: October 23, 2013