The Story of The Santa Ana Watershed

The Santa Ana Watershed, one of the three watersheds located in Riverside County, is the water source for millions of residents and is home to various species. Beginning at the Santa Ana River, water from this watershed takes a long journey before it reaches your home.

Santa Ana River

The primary waterway for the Santa Ana Watershed is the Santa Ana River, the largest river system in California with a total length of 700 miles. The Santa Ana River begins its long journey behind the high San Bernardino mountains below the Gorgonio Peak, the highest peak in Southern California rising 11,503 feet above sea level. Throughout its journey it is joined by multiple major tributaries, otherwise known as rivers or streams that flow into a larger river or lake.

Prado Basin

After the Santa Ana River reaches the base of Big Bear Mountain, it continues into the interior basins of San Bernardino and Riverside County leading it to the home of the largest wetlands in Southern California, the Prado Basin. Located near the city of Corona, Prado Basin is a critical point of the journey since Prado Dam holds back water for most of the year and slowly releases it to the lower watershed. It not only provides residents with water, but it also provides habitat to thousands of plant and animal species.

Santa Ana Watershed

Throughout the years, the Santa Ana Watershed has experienced many transformations as a result of flood control developments resulting in a substantial portion being covered by residential and industrial structures. Today the watershed is home to over 4.8 million people with a grand demand for water. The water needs of the population are met, but with the abundance of pollution, many waterways supporting the watershed are directly affected.

To ensure that the watershed keeps flowing as intended, it’s recommended that everyone do their part in keeping our waterways clean. It starts right at home by ensuring that you’re not allowing pet waste, household hazardous waste, and litter to go down the drain!

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