The draft 2021 Indio Subbasin Water Management Plan Update is now available for public review and comment. The Indio Subbasin, which is where most local drinking water comes from, is part of the Coachella Valley Groundwater Basin.
The update outlines how local water managers plan to:
- meet future water demands
- maintain stable groundwater levels
- manage and protect water quality
- collaborate with tribes and state and federal agencies on shared objectives
- manage future costs, minimize adverse environmental impacts
- reduce vulnerability to climate change and drought impacts
Changes in land use, projected growth, water supplies, climate change and many other issues are factored into the update, which looks ahead to 2045. Water managers took a conservative approach to climate change, far exceeding the minimum considerations required by the State.
Groundwater management programs have replenished 4 million acre-feet of imported water into the Coachella Valley Basin. Over the past 10 years, groundwater levels have increased or stabilized over most of the Indio Subbasin and overdraft has been eliminated, a sign that the plan is working. The Water Management Plan Update builds on decades of work to sustainably manage the Indio Subbasin.
The Indio Subbasin underlies the cities of Palm Springs, Cathedral City, Rancho Mirage, Palm Desert, Indian Wells, La Quinta, Indio and Coachella, and the unincorporated communities of Thousand Palms, Thermal, Bermuda Dunes, Oasis and Mecca.
The Water Management Plan has guided local water management since first completed in 2002, and along with annual reports and the current update, will continue to guide water management by the Groundwater Sustainability Agencies (GSAs) of the Indio Subbasin. These agencies are the Coachella Valley Water District, Desert Water Agency, Coachella Water Authority, and Indio Water Authority.
The update follows on the Coachella Valley Water Management Plan to comply with requirements of the Sustainable Groundwater Management Act (SGMA), the 2014 legislation designed to halt overdraft and bring groundwater basins into balanced levels of pumping and recharge.
State officials previously announced that the Coachella Valley’s Water Management Plan, submitted as an Alternative to a Groundwater Sustainability Plan for the Indio Subbasin, met the requirements of SGMA, and indicated that the first five-year update of the Plan would be due by January 1, 2022.
Twelve workshops were held during plan development to receive critical input from tribes, stakeholders, and the general public. Two final workshops scheduled on October 20 will provide an overview of the plan.
To view the plan and to comment, or for information on the October 20 public workshop, visit Alternative Plan Update – Indio Subbasin SGMA.