The earliest known inhabitants of the Morongo Basin were the Serrano Indians. These ancient people migrated each year to higher hunting grounds by a route through Big Morongo Canyon, where water was dependable at a series of springs. The various camps they set up were eventually used by cattlemen who adopted the route through the canyon as an alternate to the lower route through Indio on their way to Arizona.
One cattleman, Mark "Chuck" Warren and his family decided to homestead in what is now known as Yucca Valley. He and his sons dug by hand the first well, which became known as "Warren’s Well." Over time, the Warrens built a windmill to pump the water and established the first settlement in the area.
In 1945 a group of investors, including Ted Jurling, recognized Yucca Valley’s potential as the location for subdivisions, such as those being developed in other parts of Southern California. They bought three sections of land and installed the first functional pump, forming the Yucca Water Company, Ltd. This process was repeated by other groups of developers, resulting in community water companies serving the individual developments. Over time, consolidations took place. However, seven purveyors still retail water to their customers within the individual communities of Yucca Valley, Joshua Tree, Morongo Valley, Flamingo Heights, Landers, and 29 Palms.
Hi-Desert Water District was originally formed in 1962 under the name of Yucca Valley County Water District. In 1964, the District purchased the Joshua Forest Water Company and subsequently the Rancho Ramon and Mountain Mutual Water companies the following year. In 1971 the District changed its name to Hi-Desert County Water District and in 1980 to Hi-Desert Water District in order to avoid confusion with the County. As the years went by the District grew as a result of the formation of many assessment districts, primarily on the mesa. In 1990, Hi-Desert Water District acquired the assets of Yucca Water Company, Ltd., adding an additional 3,000 service connections.
The District currently has approximately 9,800 active service connections. With a total service area of 57 square miles, the District operates 16 storage tanks, 13 wells, and maintains over 297 miles of pipeline.