Posted on: March 22, 2016

Water districts urge community, visitors to avoid fast-flowing Whitewater River

CVWD and DWA logos

Coachella Valley Water District (CVWD) and Desert Water Agency (DWA) are advising everyone to avoid the Whitewater River channel near Windy Point on either side of Interstate 10 (I-10). There is an extreme danger in entering the water.

As temperatures begin to climb and students are out of school during Spring Break, the water in the Whitewater River area may be tempting to Coachella Valley residents and visitors, but it poses a tremendous risk of injury or death.

The flow rate this spring will vary but has already reached 250 cubic feet per second, which is similar to the force of 200 basketballs moving past a given point every second. The flow of the water may not appear to be dangerous but it could easily lead to falls, injuries or drowning.

There is a danger to anyone that enters the water and to small children who could fall into the river while playing along its shore.

The area is marked with no-trespassing signs. CVWD and DWA have reached out to law enforcement partners to alert them to the threat. Trespassers risk prosecution, which could lead to fines and jail time.

The Whitewater River is fed by snowmelt from Mt. San Gorgonio. Much of the water that is currently visible from the I-10, however, is imported Colorado River water from a nearby aqueduct, flowing to the CVWD- DWA groundwater replenishment ponds near Windy Point. This area should be avoided.

The Whitewater Preserve, about 5 miles north of I-10 on Whitewater Canyon Road is an area for people to legally and safely enjoy the water. The facility maintains a wading pond and there is section of the river with slower moving water from the nearby mountain's pure snowmelt in which people can swim. This is a safe place to cool down and enjoy the natural beauty of the preserve. Current hours of operation are 8 a.m. to 5 p.m. For additional information, call the preserve at (760) 325-7222. The 2,851-acre preserve is owned and operated by the Wildlands Conservancy, a nonprofit. All activities are free, but donations are accepted.

Another place to enjoy water play is the Palm Desert Aquatic Center, which is located within the Palm Desert Civic Center Park. Facilities include three pools, multiple slides, diving boards and a variety of water-related play features. Normal hours are 11 a.m. to 5 p.m. daily. Call 760-565-7467 for additional information. The city and YMCA operate the facility and charge admission fees.

DWA is a public, non-profit agency and State Water Contractor serving a 325-square-mile area including parts of Cathedral City, outlying county areas, Desert Hot Springs and Palm Springs. An elected five-member board sets policy and represents the community.

CVWD provides domestic and irrigation water, agricultural drainage, wastewater treatment and reclamation services, regional stormwater protection, groundwater management and water conservation. It serves more than 107,000 residential and business customers across 1,000 square miles, primarily in Riverside County, but also in portions of Imperial and San Diego counties.

News Release Contacts
Heather Engel,, 760-398-2661, Ext. 2353
Ashley Hudgens,, 760-323-4971, Ext. 184
Diane Carmony,, 760-398-2661, Ext. 2315

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