News Flash

CVWD News

Posted on: March 10, 2023

CVWD and the Bureau of Reclamation celebrate 120 years of managing water

Groundbreaking photo with shovels. CVWD Board, General Manger and USBR Commissioner Touton

Coachella Valley Water District (CVWD) and the U.S. Bureau of Reclamation (Reclamation) co-hosted an event to celebrate Reclamation’s 120th anniversary and more than a century of partnership in managing water in the west. In addition, Reclamation and CVWD recognized a $60 million loan for the Irrigation Lateral and Box Structure Replacements project funded by the historic Bipartisan Infrastructure Law (BIL).

CVWD was formed in 1918, and one of its first actions was to seek imported Colorado River water to provide farms with a dependable irrigation water supply without depleting the groundwater basin. In 1919, the CVWD board entered into its first contract with Reclamation under the Kettner Bill to survey possible routes for the All-American Canal. A second contract was made under the Kincaid Act in 1921 to survey the route that would eventually bring Colorado River water into the Coachella Valley.

The Coachella Valley started to receive Colorado River water in March 1949 via the Coachella Canal. The 480-mile irrigation distribution system serves over 77,000 irrigable acres through 66 distribution laterals. Construction of the underground canal water distribution system began in 1948 and was completed in 1954 by the U.S. Bureau of Reclamation.

“The water we are celebrating has fulfilled the dreams of many Coachella Valley families who grow the food that feeds our communities,” said CVWD Board Director Peter Nelson. “We also recognize our longstanding partnership with Commissioner Camille Touton and Reclamation and thank them for the investment in infrastructure to enable us to provide reliable service at a reasonable cost.”

The BIL funding being celebrated will replace the 70-year-old aging infrastructure. The irrigation laterals include old, large-diameter concrete pipelines experiencing numerous leaks. The box structures being replaced serve as a point to divert large flow volumes to the various laterals and connect multiple pipelines.

The first phase of the project includes:

  • 8 irrigation lateral transmission mains including replacing 15 miles of pipeline serving approximately 7,420 acres of farmland.
  • 3 division box structure replacements that divide the flow between transmission mainline and lateral pipelines. The division box structures serve together approximately 22,300 acres of farmland.

Replacement of the pipelines increases operational efficiency, improves reliability, enhances water conservation, and improves customer service.

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 in Riverside County and portions of Imperial and San Diego counties.

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