REDLANDS (CBSLA.com) — El Casco Lakes could soon lose the very thing that gave the Inland Empire community its name.
KCAL9’s Adrianna Weingold reported there are plans to empty three reservoirs, which sit just off San Timoteo Canyon Road between Beaumont, Redlands and Moreno Valley.
The lakes have been around since 1880, when a dam was built to store water diverted from San Timoteo Creek. Since then, the water diversion stopped and well water replaced creek water.
Recently, the Riverside Land Conservancy, which owns the property, shut the water off because the dam needs repairs that will run between $75,000 and $100,000. On top of the $20,000 it costs to maintain the lakes each year, the conservancy just doesn’t have enough funds to cover the costs.
Instead, their plan is to let the lakes dry up and return the land to natural habitat.
Resident Jerry Cody is fighting to save the lakes, where he and his family have lived for nearly 60 years.
He’s worried about what will happen to the wildlife when the lake beds are completely dry.
“It will be devastating; it truly will,” he said. “You’ll lose the birds, the egrets, all that will go away. They’ll find somewhere else to go. If they don’t, they’re going to die.”
He added, “If we don’t have water in there, I don’t know what will happen to the birds, the ducks. Where are they going to go? Well, the consensus of the opinion by others is, ‘Well, who cares?’ And that isn’t right.”
Cody has asked for the community’s support to raise enough money to get the dams fixed and the water flowing back into the lakes.