Mojave River Valley Museum
San Bernardino National Forest
The State Water Project
Silverwood Lake was named for W. E. “Ted” Silverwood, a Riverside County resident
whose support for the State Water Project, and his unceasing work for water and soil
conservation, helped to bring water to southern California.
Supplying water and power for California’s agriculture, cities and industry,
the Water Project also provides flood control, recreation, and the protection and
enhancement of fish and wildlife. The lake waters begin in California’s upper Feather
River Basin as rain or snowmelt. From the water storage facility at Lake Oroville the
water is released in regulated amounts, flowing down the Feather and Sacramento
Rivers to the Sacramento-San Joaquin Delta and into the 444-mile California Aqueduct.
The water moves south to the foot of the Tehachapi Mountains. It enters
southern California on the south side of the Tehachapis, then splits into
the west branch serving the Los Angeles Basin and Ventura County’s coastal areas, and
the east branch, which serves the Antelope Valley and San Bernardino, Riverside, Orange
and San Diego counties. In the Antelope Valley, the water level is pumped to a height
of 3,480 feet above sea level, then downhill, under the Mojave River and Highway
173, and finally, it reaches Silverwood Lake.
From the intake towers at the south end of Silverwood Lake, the water continues
south, where it plunges 1,600 feet to spin the turbines that generate electricity. Some of
the water goes to contracting agencies, while the rest flows on to Lake Perris, the southern
terminus of the aqueduct.