May 31

June in your desert garden

Posted on May 31, 2023 at 8:05 AM by Jesse Ruiz

Climate Change_Photo of ThermometerGet ready for the arrival of daily hot, dry weather in June. Your garden can look its best by tending to chores and maintaining a regular irrigation schedule.


  • You can prune oleanders, lantana, bougainvillea, and hibiscus.
  • Avoid pruning citrus foliage in the summer to prevent sunburn on the trunk and primary branches.
  • Do not top trees. Remove only dead and crossing branches.
  • Lightly thin excess interior growth of mesquites.
  • To keep roots cool and slow moisture evaporation, add a 3-inch-thick layer of mulch to roses, shrubs, and young trees.


  • Irrigation is important as temperatures top three digits daily.
  • Water deeply, but infrequently. Use a soil probe or a long screwdriver to check water penetration depth. They will move easily in wet soil but will not move much when they hit dry soil.
  • Soil should be damp down to 1½ feet for vegetables and 2 to 3 feet deep for trees.
  • To deter root rot, allow soil to dry out between watering.


  • If citrus trees show an iron deficiency (young leaves looking yellowish), apply chelated iron.
  • If your plants need fertilizer in the summer, wet the soil the day before and immediately after you apply the fertilizer. That way, the fertilizer will be more diluted and will not damage the roots.


Palms are a safe choice to plant or transplant in June.  Plant or move as early as possible in the month so they will have time to recover with good growth, responding to sunshine and deep irrigation.

  • Dig a planting hole twice as wide and just as deep as the existing root ball.
  • With twine, tie fronds up over the bud for protection. As new growth shows, snip the twine.
  • You can apply a root stimulator to the soil after planting to encourage fast rooting.

Have a question?

Ask the UC Master Gardener of Riverside County Helpline. Volunteer Master Gardeners run the free service year-round. Email your questions to

For more help

“Lush and Efficient: Desert-Friendly Landscaping in the Coachella Valley” lists more than 300 plants and more than 800 photos. You can search by several dozen categories. Pick up a free copy at CVWD customer service offices, 75525 Hovley Lane East, Palm Desert, or 50501 Tyler St., Coachella. You can see a PDF of the book here.

May 23

CVWD returns to $2 turf rebate rate

Posted on May 23, 2023 at 2:17 PM by Jesse Ruiz

Steve Bigley RetirementCVWD Board of Directors reduced turf rebate incentives from $3 per square foot to $2 per square foot at its May 23 meeting. 

The increased rate was set in April 2022 as part of the District’s Water Shortage Contingency Plan. In later months, the cities of Indian Wells, Palm Desert and Rancho Mirage approved matching rebate funds. Indian Wells and Palm Desert have exhausted their funds. Rancho Mirage will continue to offer a $3 per square foot incentive until funds run out. 

CVWD customers whose turf rebate application is in the process will remain eligible for the $3 per square foot incentive if their applications are completed by June 30. As of May 23, new applications will be eligible for $2 per square foot.

Through May 5, 2023, CVWD’s Conservation Programs paid $9.3 million to customers for converting approximately 3.1 million square feet of turf. About $5.3 million in remaining approved turf conversion projects for 1.7 million square feet will bring the total awarded to $14.9 million since April 2022.  

 In other matters: 

  • The Board recognized the retirement of Director of Environmental Services Steve Bigley, 34 years, who attended the meeting. Other retirements were noted for Welding Crew Chief Ty Murga, 24 years; Auto Shop Supervisor Matt Loutsenhizer, 20 years; and Electronic Technician Jeff Verlenich, 6 years. 
  • CVWD will pay Imperial Irrigation District $515,775 to bring reliable power to the Mid-Canal Storage Project site. IID will install 75 power poles along the canal access road for 2 miles, a transformer, and a meter drop.
  • The $20 million, 6-year SCADA Master Plan Program that replaced a 30-year-old system accomplished its objectives. 

 Key accomplishments:

  1. New SCADA system for Coachella Canal, Domestic Water, Nonpotable, Groundwater, Sanitation and Irrigation infrastructure
  2. New microwave wide-area network
  3. New SCADA system at three wastewater reclamation plants 
  4. New security system
  5. Two new radio towers and 54 new microwave links
  6. Two new control rooms, a new data center and emergency operations center
  7. New IT policies, procedures, frameworks and best practices
  8. A five-year IT strategic roadmap
  9. CVWD IT received three industry awards
May 09

CVWD opposes Salton Sea Conservancy legislation

Posted on May 9, 2023 at 1:14 PM by Jesse Ruiz

Salton_Sea_1.jpgThe CVWD Board of Directors voted May 9 to oppose a state bill that would establish a Salton Sea Conservancy.

SB 583, authored by Sen. Steve Padilla (D-San Diego), would coordinate management of all conservation projects in the region.

Board Vice President Cástulo Estrada said he was concerned by the lack of local stakeholder input and stressed the need for time to engage regionally to address concerns with the bill.

Government and Regional Affairs Victoria Llort noted four more issues:

  • Impact to the work of the Salton Sea Authority
  • Confusion over the role of a conservancy in relation to the Salton Sea Authority
  • Conflicting authority over water quality
  • Overlapping jurisdiction with other public agencies

In other action, CVWD is one step closer to receiving a $2.7 million grant for the Valley View Project that will bring new water mains and reliable potable water to small disadvantaged communities in the East Valley. The board approved the application process for the grant from the EPA Community Grants Program.

The Valley View project, with an estimated total cost of $17.4 million, will be funded totally by grants. It is projected to go out to bid in spring 2024

The board also recognized the anniversaries of these employees who attended the meeting:

Director of Engineering Carrie Oliphant, 25 years, and Water Management Specialist I Stephanie Nunimaker, 20 years.

Other 20-year anniversaries were noted for Water Management Specialist I Julie Kretz, CMMS Specialist Valerie Luna, Collection Systems I Jorge Mojica and Water Management Specialist I Bryan Peterson.