How Replenish Big Bear recovers our lost water


A new water legacy

The current water cycle is broken. Our only source of water enters as precipitation, then flows into the lake or soaks into the ground to become groundwater. After our community uses groundwater for our potable water needs, the wastewater is treated at our local treatment plant and pumped out of the Valley to irrigate crops in Lucerne Valley. Through this current practice—simply a method of disposal—we are losing millions of gallons of local water each day.

Replenish Big Bear captures and purifies our lost water, and uses it to enhance water levels throughout the Valley. This new supplemental water source will help restore lake levels, which have seen extremely low levels over the past 15 years and were only 40 percent to full as recently as November 2018. The water will also be used to recharge groundwater levels in the Valley, which will protect our community's drinking water supply. 


All water has value.

Replenish Big Bear keeps more of our water in the Valley, and represents a new way of thinking about our most essential natural resource—that all water has value.

How it works

Replenish Big Bear will use advanced treatment processes to treat water currently piped out of the Valley, and use it to restore water levels above and below ground throughout Big Bear Valley.  


A higher level of treatment

Big Bear’s existing wastewater treatment processes will be upgraded with proven advanced treatment technology to produce more than 600 million gallons of high quality water each year that exceeds drinking water standards.


Healthier habitat for our fish and wildlife

A small portion of the high quality water will be piped through an existing recycled water pipeline to Shay Pond, providing a consistent source of water to sustain 10 acres of habitat for the endangered Unarmored Threespined Stickleback fish. Potable water currently used for this purpose can be reserved for the community.


Steady water levels throughout the year

The rest of the high quality water will be sent via a new pump station and pipeline to the Stanfield Marsh and enhance 145 acres of wetland habitat. Water from the marsh will continuously flow into Big Bear Lake to provide higher, more stable lake levels throughout the year, and could increase lake levels by up to five feet in dry years.


A secure source of potable water

During dry periods, water can be pumped from the lake to Sand Canyon to soak into the groundwater basin and increase potable water supply. This water could also be used to irrigate the golf course to preserve the groundwater supply. During wet periods, water currently used for irrigation outside of the Valley could be used to create additional snow and increase spring runoff.

As clean as from the tap  

The water used to replenish water levels throughout Big Bear Valley will exceed even state and federal drinking water standards.

Our path to a secure water future


"Together, we will keep a valuable water resource in the Valley. The benefits of the project will support recreation so our tourism economy can continue to thrive, improve the habitat for our area's fish and wildlife, and protect our essential water supplies for years to come."

- David Lawrence, BBARWA General Manager

Working today to secure water for a thriving Big Bear Valley tomorrow.
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Partner agencies coming together to secure Big Bear Valley's water future