Coachella Valley Water District (CVWD), along with representatives from the State Water Resources Control Board (SWRCB), U.S. Environmental Protection Agency (EPA) Region 9, SAFER Advisory Group, and the Coachella Valley Unified School District gathered on Thursday, December 7 to celebrate the completion of more than 100 water system consolidations across the state that have benefitted 90,000 Californians.
Consolidations secure safe drinking water for communities by connecting small, failing wells to established public infrastructure such as CVWD’s domestic water system.
Thursday’s events included a bus tour of local drinking water projects in the Eastern Coachella Valley, beginning with a celebration at Westside Elementary, a site that has benefited from consolidation. The event concluded at Mission San Jose Community Center in Thermal, a site that has also benefited from upgrades to its potable water and drainage systems
Before its consolidation into the CVWD system, the private onsite well at Westside Elementary School had no backup power or fire protection. The system was also at risk for contaminants in the water by naturally occurring elements in the groundwater. Consolidation projects like these are made possible through the SWRCB’s Safe and Affordable Funding for Equity and Resilience (SAFER) drinking water program, which was established with the signing of SB200 in 2019 by Governor Newsom. Through SAFER, residents can receive reliable access to safe and affordable drinking water, especially those in disadvantaged communities.
“We’ve been working for the past 10 years through the Disadvantage Communities Infrastructure Task Force to get the funding needed to bring clean drinking water to the Eastern Coachella Valley,” said Castulo Estrada, CVWD board vice president and SAFER Advisory Group member. “I’m proud that we have been able to secure funding through the SAFER program and other state and federal partners to make the human right to water a reality for these residents through consolidations and connections to our domestic water system.”
According to SWRCB, the consolidation for Westside Elementary was fully funded with over $815,000 in grants from SAFER, of which $446,000 came from the Drinking Water State Revolving Fund, a federal-state assistance program for infrastructure projects.
During the community celebration at the Mission San Jose Community Center, attendees also toured the nearby Vargas Community to view the established Point-of-Entry and Point-of-Use systems – filtering systems that use water treatment devices to treat water entering a house or a building to reduce contaminants in the drinking water.
Additional consolidation projects are underway throughout the Eastern Coachella Valley, including two top priority projects that CVWD has launched. These projects will consolidate at least 16 small water systems by connecting them to CVWD's domestic water system.
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 113,000 residential and business customers across 1,000 square miles, primarily in Riverside County and portions of Imperial and San Diego counties.
Media Contact: Lorraine Garcia, Lorraine.Garcia@cvwd.org, (760) 398-2661, ext. 2549, or (760) 695-4007.