Banning Heights Mutual Water Company currently serves 200 domestic water meter connections. we are a non-profit mutual water company owned by the property owners in our service area who are also our only shareholders.

The beginning of the present system began in the early 1900s when farming, primarily orchards, became prevalent in the area. Even in the early part of the 20th century, water was a controlling factor for farmers, ranchers, and communities like ours. The Banning Bench’s close proximity to The San Gorgonio Canyon and the constantly flowing river made it a prime location for fruit

Up until this time, water had been siphoned from the river and distributed to the railroad system engines as they traveled through the San Gorgonio Pass. As a demand irrigation water for farms
increased, the Whitewater River flowing east from the San Bernardino Mountains became the focus of both local farmers and the early pioneers of hydroelectric sources. Hence, the construction of the diversion intakes and an intricate system of flume lines were built to deliver the surface water to the Banning Bench area and portions of the Banning community.

While there is some indication that the first claims made for use of the Whitewater River water was made in the 1880s, the first Notice of Appropriation was filed in 1906. The documents of legal
consequence are the following:

1/10/1913 Agreement between Consolidated Reservoir & Power Company (CRPC) and Banning Water Company for CRPC to discharge waste water from the lower San Gorgonio powerhouse in Exchange for 10% of the cost of maintenance and repair of the water delivery system.

12/13/1913 Conveyance between CRPC and Banning Heights Mutual Water Company establishing that “the whole of the water right and the water system” belongs to BHMWC if for any reason CRPC abandons or ceases to generate power.

8/7/1922 CRPC deeded all of its water rights to the San Gorgonio Power Company (SGPC).

8/11/1922 The apparent date of the first use of the Whitewater River, based on the priority of the same date shown in License No. 550 referenced below.

12/15/1922 Date of SGPC Application No. 2977 for diversion of the Whitewater River.

1/13/1923 Date of SGPC Permit No. 1275 for diversion of the Whitewater River.

11/3/1926 The California Department of Public Works, Division of Water Rights (CDPW), issued License No. 550 to SGPC to divert 13.26 cfs from the Whitewater River, with priority date.

8/11/1922 The Joint Pass memo says that this license was issued jointly to Edison’s predecessor and Banning Heights Mutual Water Company and Banning Water Company. However, this license (which we have a copy of in San Dimas) states clearly that it is issued exclusively to SGPC and only for hydroelectric purposes to be returned to the San Gorgonio River, with no mention of any consumptive uses. Therefore, the joint authority for these rights is not based upon this license, as indicated in the memo but rather upon the original 1913 agreements and the States subsequent 1928 order (below).

4/23/1928 CDPW issued an order (adjudication) declaring that the SGPC, the Banning Heights Mutual Water Company and the Banning Water Company (to which the city of Banning is successor) have joint rights to divert the Whitewater River, with a priority date of 10/31/1906. However, this priority date apparently reflects the first use of San Gorgonio River water at the powerhouse location, rather than the first use of diverted Whitewater River water, which did not Come until some 15 years later. The order clearly reflects that the adjudication is subject to the provisions of the two 1913 documents and the 1922 Deed.

3/8/1939 The State reaffirmed the joint rights declared in their 1928 Order with Certificate of Adjudicated Water Right No. 636. This certificate is dated by Mossman et al. as 3/8/1939 in their
discussion, but 12/1935 in their doc list.

The current system includes over 14 miles of flume line, conduit, and penstock that link the intakes at South Fork and East Fork of the Whitewater River with the BHMWC’s facilities.

Beginning at a 7,200 foot elevation, the water traverses two storage tanks and two former Hydroelectric plants before entering our first storage facility which is located about 1 mile north of our treatment facility.