Together, Coachella Valley Water District (CVWD) and Desert Water Agency (DWA) have replenished more than 330,000 acre-feet of imported water into the Coachella Valley groundwater basin so far this year.
That is more imported water than has ever been replenished within a year and is more than will be used this year by all groundwater pumpers, marking a significant milestone in increasing groundwater levels in local aquifers.
The Whitewater River Groundwater Replenishment Facility, near windy point, has been operating almost continuously since February. During that time, more than 300,000 acre-feet has been replenished there, which equates to about 400 million gallons per day.
“Wet winters like the one we experienced last year allow us to make sizable and lasting deposits of water into the groundwater basin,” said DWA General Manager Mark Krause. “This is a very important milestone that illustrates the investment our community has made in sustainability.”
CVWD and DWA are State Water Contractors that import water for replenishment at two facilities in the western end of the Coachella Valley. CVWD also imports Colorado River water for groundwater replenishment in the eastern Coachella Valley and has started design work on a new replenishment facility in the middle of the valley.
While the agencies’ combined State Water Project water allocation is 194,100 acre-feet, the actual amount delivered varies each year based on water availability, environmental restrictions and advance deliveries (water that Metropolitan Water District delivers now to be counted toward deliveries owed in future years).
To date, more than 3.5 million acre-feet of imported water has been returned to the groundwater basin at the three replenishment facilities in the Coachella Valley. That’s more than a trillion gallons. Groundwater replenishment is a key component of the Coachella Valley’s water management efforts, combined with conservation, increased use of recycled water and imported Colorado River water for agriculture and golf course irrigation.
“After several years of drought, hitting this milestone will help the residents and businesses of tomorrow,” said Jim Barrett, CVWD General Manager. “State Water Project and Colorado River Water supplies are an incredible tool that we’re putting to great use.”
CVWD began capturing and replenishing snowmelt at Whitewater in 1918 and began delivering imported water for irrigation in 1949. CVWD and DWA became SWP contractors in the 1960s and began importing water for replenishment in 1973. The groundwater basin is the valley’s primary water source. It is a public resource managed by public agencies. Water replenishment is factored into water rates and private pumpers that have their own wells pay a replenishment charge that pays to bring water into the basin to replace what is pumped out.
Desert Water Agency is a public, non-profit agency and a 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 ratepayers. For more information, please visit www.dwa.org.
Coachella Valley Water District is a public, non-profit agency serving domestic water, irrigation water, wastewater collection and reclamation services, regional stormwater protection and groundwater replenishment over a 1,000-square-mile area, including parts of Cathedral City to the Salton Sea communities. CVWD is a State Water Contractor and operates the 123-mile Coachella Canal to import Colorado River water to the region. An elected five-member board sets policy and represents the ratepayers. For more information, please visit www.cvwd.org.