With rain expected this week, the Coachella Valley Water District (CVWD) is reminding everyone of the potential danger related to stormwater flow in the Whitewater River/Coachella Valley Stormwater Channel and other regional stormwater channels and washes.
A number of roads cross the stormwater channels or washes, so it’s important for drivers to understand that as little as 2 feet of water can cause a car or truck to lose traction and float downstream. Driving can be especially treacherous at night when it’s difficult to determine the depth of water. Drivers should always obey law enforcement-imposed road closures and detours.
Also, take extra caution when crossing or walking in the channel or washes prior to an impending storm. Even when it is not raining on the valley floor, rain in nearby mountains can result in heavy water flow in a short period of time.
When there is flooding, CVWD reminds residents and businesses that it is illegal to open up sanitary sewer manhole covers to capture or pump stormwater into the sewer collection system. The 134-mile stormwater protection system includes several tributary channels that feed into the Whitewater River/Coachella Valley Stormwater Channel, which carries the water to the Salton Sea. By comparison, the 1,095-mile sewer collection system carries wastewater to six different wastewater reclamation plants located throughout the Coachella Valley. When stormwater invades the sewer collection system, the increased flow to the wastewater treatment plants can result in significant damage and interfere with the wastewater treatment process.
The water district also reminds residents to turn off sprinklers for at least 48 hours when there is measurable rain, in accordance with state and local restrictions. During the winter months, even a small amount of rain can provide sufficient irrigation and allow you to reduce your water use.
The Coachella Valley Water District is a public agency governed by a five-member board of directors. The district provides domestic and irrigation water, agricultural drainage, wastewater treatment and reclamation services, regional storm water protection, groundwater management and water conservation. It serves approximately 108,000 residential and business customers across 1,000 square miles, located primarily in Riverside County, but also in portions of Imperial and San Diego counties.