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.
DISCOVERY OF WATER
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.
FORMATION OF WATER DISTRICTS
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 over 10,000 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. It provides potable water services to the Town of Yucca Valley and a portion of the unincorporated area of San Bernardino County. In addition to providing water for customers, the District has assumed the responsibility to construct the area’s first centralized sewer system, and wastewater treatment and reclamation facility, providing future sewer service to its customers.
In 1962, the County Board of Supervisors and the electorate, approved the formation of Hi-Desert Water District (HDWD) formally Yucca Valley County Water District (YVCWD). This made HDWD a "Special District" operating pursuant to the provisions of County Water District Law, California Water Code, sections 30,000 et. seq. It is within these sections you will find the jurisdictional authority vested in the water purveyor. Being formed in 1963, the San Bernardino County Local Agency Formation Commission (LAFCO) approved the annexation of two separate areas to the YVCWD which comprised of the entirety of Starvista County Water District (which was then dissolved) giving YVCWD the authority to provide water within the annexed area.YVCWD also purchased a private water company known as the Joshua Forest Water Company and two mutuals known as the Rancho Ramon and Mountain Mutual Water Companies.`It was within these purchases that YVCWD expanded its service area to become what is now HDWD's current District boundaries.