PIONEERTOWN — After over 30 years of community effort, Pioneertown now has clean, potable drinking water straight from the tap and on Friday morning, Sept. 13, people from across the Morongo Basin gathered outside of Pappy & Harriett’s to celebrate the achievement.
The Pioneertown Pipeline will pump water into this small community to replace the source water in Pioneertown, which has several quality issues.
Most of the county-run wells in Pioneertown were taken out of service due to high concentrations of uranium and arsenic. The new pipeline connects the existing Pioneertown water distribution system to a Hi-Desert Water District well through the installation of approximately 4 miles of transmission pipeline and two booster stations.
This project was funded through a State Proposition 84 grant that was approved by the Drinking Water State Revolving Fund on Nov. 14, 2018, for $5.4 million.
The new pipeline was completed on July 27 but the county asked residents not to drink the water until after the ribbon-cutting ceremony to allow the lines to run the clean water and purge all old contaminates.
Dawn Rowe, the 3rd District supervisor for San Bernardino County, opened up the ribbon-cutting ceremony Friday morning by thanking local agencies including the Hi-Desert Water District and the Mojave Water Agency for their contributions. She also gave a special thanks to the San Bernardino County Special Districts Department for pushing the project forward.
Jack Dugan, a longtime Pioneertown resident and the former Pioneertown representative on the Morongo Basin Municipal Advisory Council, spoke about the history of the project and thanked everyone for pushing through the roadblocks that halted the project’s progress; these included the incline into Pioneertown from Yucca Valley and the rocky terrain.
“Between 1947 and 1948, Dick Curtis was talking to San Bernardino County about piping water into Pioneertown,” Dugan said. “Well, it’s here. It took a while, but it’s here.”
Dugan went on to thank the county for securing grant money to pay for the pipeline, which was installed in Pioneertown at no cost to the local residents.
Division Manager Steve Samaras with the Special Districts Water and Sanitation Department said he was excited to see the project reach its completion. Up on the podium, he took a drink of water from the pipeline brought in for the ceremony.
“This water exceeds all federal and state quality regulation,” he said. “This is a new chapter in the history of Pioneertown.”
After he spoke, Rowe and longtime resident David Miller then turned the key, opening the Pioneertown Pipeline.