Posted on: January 11, 2017

Northern California storms mean more water for Coachella Valley

Whitewater River

Significant rainfall and snow in Central and Northern California since December bodes well for the Coachella Valley’s water supply.

Intense, water-rich storms have resulted in high levels of runoff that now has most major reservoirs in Northern and Central California filled to where water releases are mandatory. Healthy Northern California reservoirs mean more water for Southern California.

As part of its long-term water management plan, the Coachella Valley Water District (CVWD) relies on imported water to meet its current and future water needs. One of those imported sources is the State Water Project (SWP) and it comes from Northern California.

As SWP contractors, CVWD and Desert Water Agency (DWA) have a combined allocation of 194,100 acre-feet. The California Department of Water Resources recently announced that SWP contractors will receive 45% of their total allocation this year. This means that CVWD and DWA will receive more than 87,000 acre-feet of water from the SWP. Should the rains in the north continue through January and possibly into February or March, this allocation could go even higher.

In the Coachella Valley, SWP water is used exclusively for replenishment of the aquifer. Imported water from the SWP and Colorado River are key components to CVWD’s long-term water management efforts. The Coachella Valley Water Management Plan identifies imported water, conservation and increasing the supply of recycled water as the primary tools to eliminating overdraft of the aquifer.

California continues to be in a drought and water waste restrictions remain in place. It will likely take more than a month or two of significant rain to reverse more than five years of drought. Coachella Valley residents should continue their conservation efforts to help maintain a healthy aquifer that is our sole source of drinking 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.

Cutline information: CVWD and Desert Water Agency (DWA) began receiving imported water this week. The water is sent down the Whitewater River to CVWD’s replenishment ponds.

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