CVWD joins multi-agency commitment to reduce demand on Colorado River
Understanding the need for action, Coachella Valley Water District (CVWD) has committed to take additional measures to reduce water demands on the drought-stricken Colorado River alongside 30 other water agencies from municipal and public water providers in the Upper and Lower Colorado River Basin.
A Memorandum of Understanding (MOU) was delivered to U.S. Bureau of Reclamation Commissioner Camille Touton to affirm commitments to implement comprehensive and innovative water conservation programs.
“CVWD is well-positioned to join our colleagues in a larger effort to reduce demand on the River thanks to the water-efficiency actions we have implemented over the years,” said CVWD Board President John Powell Jr.” We are committed to continuing our efforts to bring the supply and use of the river into balance for future generations and to support our local economy.”
CVWD’s past actions are consistent with the MOU, such as adopting a tiered rate billing structure, implementing a number of various conservation rebates, expanding rebate offerings, and hosting numerous community events to teach best practices for efficient indoor and outdoor water use.
Through the MOU, some of the actions CVWD will specifically commit to include:
- Reduce the quantity of non-functional turf grass by 30% through replacement with drought-resilient landscaping, while maintaining vital urban landscapes and tree canopies that benefit our communities, wildlife, and the environment.
- Increase water reuse and recycling programs where feasible, contingent on the dependability and security of our existing Colorado River supplies essential to support these efforts.
- Transform outdoor landscapes and urban environments in a manner that improves climate resilience and promotes an ethic of wise water use through mandatory watering schedules and compliance enforcement, incentivized turf removal, and limitations on new turf.
- Accelerating water loss control by prioritizing supply considerations in asset management programs and exploring water loss control regulations to minimize water loss.
CVWD also committed to curtail replenishment at its Thomas E. Levy Groundwater Replenishment Facility (Levy) for the remainder of 2022.
In addition, CVWD submitted two proposals to USBR to participate in the Lower Colorado Conservation and Efficiency Program (LC Conservation Program) for up to three calendar years (CY 2023 through 2025) with combined conservation up to 35,000 acre-feet per year between the two voluntary, temporary, and compensated programs. Under the agreement, conserved water would be reimbursed at $400 per acre-foot.
CVWD’s historic water efficiency actions on its Colorado River delivery system include:
- Investment in its irrigation delivery system to minimize system losses through the use of pipes and also metering 100% of properties served.
- Use of drip irrigation in about 60% of CVWD’s service area, which allows the average water application to be less than 3.8 acre-feet per acre.
- Lining of a 49-mile section of the Coachella Canal saves 132,000 acre feet per year.
- Lining of the remaining 35-mile section of Coachella Canal (in conjunction with San Diego County Water Authority and San Luis Rey Band of Indians), saves 26,000 acre feet per year (which is transferred to SDCWA).
CVWD’s federal Colorado River water order is 399,000 acre-feet for 2022, which is about 9% of the state’s allocation. About 260,000 acre-feet of this is delivered to local farms, and the balance is delivered for environmental mitigation, groundwater replenishment, large landscape irrigation, and for use by other agencies.
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, located primarily in Riverside County, but also in portions of Imperial and San Diego counties.