MWD grants Hemet drainage easement along State Street


The Metropolitan Water District of Southern California granted Hemet an easement along State Street which will allow the city to construct the Cactus Valley Flood Control Channel.

MWD’s board vote Tuesday, May 12, approved the granting of the permanent easement for the fair market value of $56,000 along with processing costs of $8,500. Although the city is the lead agency for the Environmental Impact Report and initially certified that document in 2003 as part of the McSweeney Farms Specific Plan, MWD was required to certify that it reviewed and considered the information in that EIR when the water agency made its decision.

The Cactus Valley Wash watershed is primarily in unincorporated Riverside County southeast of the Hemet city limits. The total watershed drainage area is approximately 15.5 square miles. The wash generally flows northwest and the drainage traverses MWD property along State Street south of Domenigoni Parkway. The wash eventually flows into the Salt Creek Channel approximately 2,000 feet north of the intersection of Domenigoni Parkway and Searl Parkway.

Development projects east of State Street needed to minimize the potential for flooding. The wash was channelized, which also maximizes the habitable area within the developments. The McSweeney Farms Specific Plan covers the development of 673 acres and authorizes more than 1,500 residential units along with commercial and community use development, drainage facilities and open space.

The flood control channel will be able to handle a 100-year flood and will include an unlined trapezoidal channel 90 feet wide and concrete-lined side slopes. The channel inlet will begin at the southeastern boundary of the specific plan area and end just west of State Street. A rock-lined dissipator structure will be constructed on the west side of State Street to reduce the outlet velocities and to prevent downstream scouring as the water continues to the Salt Creek Channel.

Single-family homes have been constructed near State Street and Newport Road. The western portion of the housing development east of State Street is partially developed. The property north of McSweeney Parkway and east of State Street currently contains rough graded single-family lots. The drainage facilities must be completed before the construction of any additional homes.

MWD retains a prior rights provision in the easement and will still be able to access that property. All plans for the flood control channel must be reviewed and approved by both MWD and Hemet before construction. The city will be responsible for construction inspection, for acceptance of the drainage facilities within the easement and for the long-term maintenance and repair of the flood control channel.

Joe Naiman can be reached by email at