(Coachella Valley, CA) 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 summer will vary but has reached 170 cubic feet per second, which is similar to 170 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, non-profit agency serving domestic water, irrigation water, wastewater collection and reclamation services, regional stormwater protection and groundwater replenishment over a 1,000-square-mile area, including parts of Cathedral City to the Salton Sea communities. CVWD is a State Water Contractor and operates the 123-mile Coachella Canal to import Colorado River water to the region. An elected five-member board sets policy and represents the ratepayers. For more information, please visit www.cvwd.org.
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.