With the majority of rain expected in the San Bernardino and Santa Rosa Mountains this weekend, the Coachella Valley Water District (CVWD) is reminding everyone of the potential danger related to flash flooding and stormwater flow in the Whitewater River/Coachella Valley Stormwater Channel and washes.
Even when it is not raining on the valley floor, rain in nearby mountains can result in heavy water flow in a short period of time. Take extra caution when crossing, walking or playing in the channel or washes before or during an impending storm.
A number of roads cross the stormwater channels or washes, so it’s important for drivers to understand that as little as 2 feet of water can cause a car or truck to lose traction and float downstream. Driving can be especially treacherous at night when it’s difficult to determine the depth of water. Drivers should always obey law enforcement-imposed road closures and detours.
When there is flooding, CVWD reminds residents and businesses that it is illegal to open up sanitary sewer manhole covers to capture or pump stormwater into the sewer collection system. The 134-mile stormwater protection system includes several tributary channels that feed into the Whitewater River/Coachella Valley Stormwater Channel, which carries the water to the Salton Sea. By comparison, the 1,095-mile sewer collection system carries wastewater to six different wastewater reclamation plants located throughout the Coachella Valley. When stormwater invades the sewer collection system, the increased flow to the wastewater treatment plants can result in significant damage and interfere with the wastewater treatment process.
If measurable rain occurs in the valley, the water district also encourages residents to turn off sprinklers and to keep them off for at least for 48 hours after to help conserve water.
The 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.