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Diamond Valley Lake
Metropolitan built Diamond Valley Lake as a promise for the future. The vast reservoir, nestled between two hillsides, plays a vital role in how we manage and deliver drinking water. By storing up to six months of emergency supplies, the reservoir serves as a critical lifeline, helping Southern California get through dry times and catastrophes. It also provides important habitat for plants and animals and popular recreational amenities for the community.
Diamond Valley Lake serves as an indispensable asset, one that reflects Metropolitan’s commitment to water reliability, environmental stewardship, and a climate resilient future for Southern California.
Diamond Valley Lake’s story is one of thoughtful planning and foresight. Its construction during the late 1990s marked a bold and historic achievement for Metropolitan. Since then, the reservoir has been instrumental in carrying us through challenging water scenarios, including several multi-year droughts. The reservoir was built to hold enough water to serve nearly a half million Southern California families for a year. It stores up to 810,000 acre-feet of water (264 billion gallons), nearly doubling the region’s prior surface water storage capacity when it became operational.
Greater System Flexibility
Water stored in DVL travels from Northern California through the State Water Project and its 444-mile California Aqueduct before being delivered to the reservoir through the Inland Feeder and the Eastside Pipeline. Stored water can be routed to almost all of Metropolitan’s service area if needed during a drought or an emergency.
A Purposeful Location
The reservoir is in the city of Hemet in southwest Riverside County, about 90 miles southeast of downtown Los Angeles. The search for the reservoir site spanned four years and consideration of 13 sites before leaders decided on the hourglass-shaped Diamond and Domenigoni valleys. The location was chosen for its elevation allowing for gravity flows, clean hydroelectric power opportunities, water quality improvements, and proximity to Metropolitan's existing water delivery system. DVL is 4.5 miles long and
2 miles wide and has depths of up to 250 feet.
The reservoir is home to natural habitat areas that protect wildlife and ecosystems. Two large nature reserves nearby provide a model for how infrastructure can be built in harmony with nature. The reservoir’s development marked a significant precedent for public/private partnerships and raised environmental protection to a new level by focusing on entire ecosystems rather than individual habitats.
Read more about Metropolitan Multi-species Habitat Preservation and Protection Program.
Southwestern Riverside County Multi-Species Reserve
Santa Rosa Plateau Ecological Reserve
Diamond Valley Lake provides high-quality recreational opportunities that allow for the continued protection of our drinking water supply and function in harmony with the natural environment. There are an array of recreational opportunities including boating, fishing, canoeing, kayaking and sailing, as well as adjacent multi-purpose trails, bike paths, and public park facilities. Amenities include 2.5 miles of shoreline fishing, a marina and concession area, and park facilities.
Check here for more general information about the marina and recreation.
On the Water
The reservoir provides boating, fishing, kayaking, canoeing and sailing opportunities. Boating and fishing are available year-round. To support the reservoir’s recreational values and protect drinking water quality, Metropolitan established rules and regulations for visitors, recreational users, and boaters at Diamond Valley Lake. Body contact (such as swimming, water skiing and use of personal watercraft) is prohibited. Boats are required to have clean-burning engines that use direct fuel injection. Visitors are responsible for knowing and complying with all California Division of Boating and Waterways and Department of Fish and Wildlife regulations.
Check here for a full list of boating rules, requirements and rental information.
Invasive Species Challenge
One of the greatest concerns for both water quality and system operations is the spread of invasive quagga mussels. The mussels, which are spread by commercial ships and recreational boats, can multiply rapidly, clog pipes and pumping machinery, and ruin the ecology of lakes and reservoirs. Once the lake ecology is altered, the growth of algae can occur and affect the taste of a region’s drinking water. The mussels have been found along the Colorado River at Lake Havasu, Lake Mead and Lake Mohave. They have not been found at DVL. To prevent their spread, boats visiting DVL have launch requirements and craft operators will be interviewed to insure requirements listed here have been followed.
Check here for additional quagga reference material. The California Department of Fish and Game offers additional resources here.
Diamond Valley Lake Marina
Located at the eastern end of the lake, the marina and concession area offer boat rentals and fishing supplies. Check here for more information. Click here for hours and fees.
Adjacent to the reservoir is an aquatic center and community park operated by the Valley-Wide Recreation and Park District. Swimming, sports fields, fitness trails and picnic areas are available.
Panoramic views can be found at the Clayton A. Record, Jr. Viewpoint. The Viewpoint offers free admission and is open from 8:30 a.m. to 4 p.m. Thursdays through Sundays. It is closed Easter, Fourth of July, Thanksgiving, Christmas and New Year’s Day. The Viewpoint honors Clayton A. Record, Jr., a fourth generation San Jacinto native who was a dairy farmer, successful businessman and distinguished elected official and community leader, who helped develop regional water policy as Eastern Municipal Water District’s representative on Metropolitan’s board, where he also served as vice chairman. See our trail map.
Surrounding Hills & Trails
Diamond Valley Lake’s trails provide access to extraordinary landscapes, views, and seasonal gifts of nature. Hikers, cyclists and equestrians can enjoy a substantial trail system for hiking, cycling and horseback riding through the hills surrounding the reservoir.
North Hills Trail
The construction of DVL’s Don Owen West dam, Carl Boronkay East dam and Saddle dams represented one of the largest earthwork projects in the nation. It took place between 1995 and 2000 and involved a foundation excavation of more than 40 million cubic yards of earth and 110 million cubic yards for embankment construction. A literal mountain of rock was moved from the south rim of the reservoir and placed across the valley floor to form two dams, one 2.1 miles long, the other 1.5 miles long, at each end of the 4.5 mile valley. Materials for the earth-core rock fill dams were all sourced within the project boundary. There were two rock processing plants set up for the project and together, their production exceeded the capability of any single commercial processing operation in California. The construction equipment used — shovels, loaders and trucks — were the largest available in the industry and set a new standard for earth and rock movement.
Making & Preserving History
Development of DVL was grounded in our commitment to serving customers and protecting the environment. Along the way came remarkable historical discoveries. For seven years, two-person paleontology teams worked at opposite ends of the valley for 10-hour shifts, 20-hour days, six days a week, following massive earth-moving equipment. They would find, what many experts consider, a collection of fossils to rival the famous La Brea Tar Pits. The area was called, “The Valley of the Mastodons.” One of the more famous discoveries was Max the Mastodon. More than two decades after the discovery, it was determined that Max was the first new mastodon species named in more than 50 years from North America (Mammut pacificus, the Pacific mastodon). During excavation, bones and skeletons were found from extinct mastodons and also mammoth, camel, sloth, dire wolf and long-horned bison.
Read more about Max
Read DVL: At A Glance fact sheet
Western Science Center
These archeological discoveries inspired the opening of the Western Science Center in 2006. It holds archaeological and paleontological finds from the valley’s human inhabitants and more than one million prehistoric fossils.
2345 Searl Parkway, Hemet, CA