Coachella Valley Water District (CVWD) and Desert Water Agency (DWA) are reminding residents and visitors to avoid the Whitewater River channel near Windy Point on either side of Interstate 10.
As temperatures begin to climb, the water in the Whitewater River area may be tempting, but it poses an extreme danger.
The flow rate this spring will vary but has reached 650 cubic feet per second, which is similar to 650 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 even if flotation devices are used.
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. 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. Call 760-565-7467 for additional information. The city and YMCA operate the facility and charge admission fees.
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 stormwater protection, groundwater management and water conservation. It serves approximately 109,000 residential and business customers across 1,000 square miles, located primarily in Riverside County, but also in portions of Imperial and San Diego counties.
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.