Select a Community
Adelanto Apple Valley Banning Barstow Beaumont Blythe Canyon Lake Cathedral City Chino Chino Hills Coachella Colton Corona Desert Hot Springs Fontana Grand Terrace Hemet Hesperia Highland Indio La Quinta Lake Elsinore Loma Linda Montclair Moreno Valley Murrieta Norco Palm Desert Palm Springs Perris Rancho Cucamonga Rancho Mirage Redlands Rialto Riverside San Bernardino San Jacinto Temecula Twentynine Palms Upland Victorville Yucaipa Yucca Valley
About 30 percent of California's total annual water supply comes from groundwater in normal years, and up to 60 percent in drought years. Local communities' usage may be different; many areas rely exclusively on groundwater while others use only surface water supplies. Contrary to popular opinion, groundwater does not exist in underground lakes. Groundwater fills pores (spaces) between sand, gravel, silt and clay in water-bearing formations known as aquifers.
Local Streams and Reservoirs
Many cities rely on local water projects for all or a portion of their supplies. These projects typically were built and are operated by local public water districts, county water departments, city water departments or other special districts. Nearly 600 special purpose local agencies in California provide water to their areas through local development projects and imported supplies. A number of local agencies may also operate flood control and wastewater treatment facilities in addition to providing drinking water. Local water agencies usually are formed by a vote of the community, operate as public organizations, are governed by elected directors and fund their projects through bond issues.
In some communities, water is provided by private companies. Approximately 6 million Californians are served by these investor-owned utilities, which are regulated by the California Public Utilities Commission. The PUC monitors operations and service, sets water rates, and enforces water quality standards set by state and federal regulators.