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Dam and Lake Concerns

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Update on Dam Construction and Water Levels

Boat Launching / Dam Construction Update: 7-7-15

Hello all, 

The dam construction is in full swing.  You can now see some new construction roads, construction offices, and plenty of workers running around different areas of the park. Closure signs have been placed in various areas of the park to encourage visitors to stay away from these active sites.  We do not want anyone to be injured so please do not trespass.  The dam itself is also closed so please do not hike / walk / bike on the dam.

Closed Areas in Red:

 This project has caused a little confusion about what services will be impacted. The dam construction will be a three year project and will just close the dam, south side of the park and Bernasconi. The contractor will use Bernasconi materials where they will be blasting rock and also using fill (sand/mud) from the undeveloped east end of the park. In addition, an internal road will be constructed and used to transport all of the materials to the face of the dam so that Ramona Expressway will not be congested. There will be hundreds of thousands of truckloads of transported materials during the 3 year job. Although rock climbing (Big Rock) will be closed because it is within the path of these deliveries and adjacent to the quarry, it will not be used or destroyed. There will be no lake closures or limitations on areas you can fish due to the project. The lake / water will not be used at all for the project. Our developed campground, group camp, hunting zone, picnic areas, 2 swim beaches, Indian museum, equestrian camp, and 60% of equestrian / multiuse trails will remain open during the dam project.

Launch ramp Update  We have been told that MWD has taken all of their flexible storage and Perris should remain stable.  This means that we will have at least one ramp in the water and will remain open to boating.  Current water level is 1547.8 with some light volume coming into the lake.  Water temperature is 79 degrees.

Water Level History:

In 2005 we had to drop the lake 25' vertical feet as a safety precaution due to seismic vulnerability with the dam. This drop coupled with the 2 year drought and drinking water demands has had an impact on our lake levels. Our lake only has one remaining 6 lane launch ramp and it has about 6 vertical feet of water on top of it. Since we are at the lowest lake elevation in over 40 years, we have been diligently trying to keep our existing ramp clear of debris. Over the years a large amount sand and rocks have built up at the current base of the ramp. We have been sending our dive team to remove hazards and also have been using heavy equipment to clear the ramp. We are committed to keep ramp 6 open and free of hazards. Please use caution when navigating in the east end and near the island. We will do our best to mark hazards as they become visible but every skipper should also be cautious.

I appreciate all of our visitors and I strongly feel that Lake Perris will still satisfy most users recreational needs during this drought and construction period. We will do our best to communicate any changes via FB and our website. If you ever have any questions about our operation please send us a FB message or call our office at 951-940-5600.

Thank you for supporting and using Lake Perris,

John Rowe
Park Superintendent


For more information on the damn remediation project please visit the California Department of Water Resources at the Perris Dam Remediation Program site, and our own Lake Concerns page.


(updated 7/2015)

California faces one of the most severe droughts in its recorded history, and there are no signs that it's letting up. Back in January, Governor Brown declared a State of Emergency and directed state officials to "take all necessary actions to prepare for water shortages." He also asked for all Californians to reduce their water usage by at least 30%.

Lake Perris is also doing its part to help conserve water in the midst of this unprecedented drought. While a popular tourist destination, Lake Perris is first-and-foremost a drinking water reservoir. In order to ensure that Southern Californian households will have access to as much of that water as possible, Lake Perris has had to stop irrigating the turf grass areas of the park found in the Day Use and Group Picnic areas. We have also had to prohibit the use of portable swimming pools, slip-and-slides, water slides, etc.

Because of the severe water shortage, water is not flowing into Lake Perris from the State Water Project. Water for most reservoirs is at record lows. . The good news is that we still have launch ramp #6 open to the public for boat launching. The campground, marina, and swim beaches will remain open at this time.

We understand the inconvenience that this will cause, but Californian's must stand together and conserve water in the face of this severe water shortage.

Save Our Water Website

Governor Brown announces emergency drought legislation

Press Enterprise article on the decision to not draw water until Labor Day

California Drought Information and News

A new brochure has been published about the future of the activities available at Lake Perris and is now available in
PDF format.