Riverside County’s Coachella Valley Water District (CVWD) recently announced the addition of three new half-day, free tour opportunities to provide a more in-depth look at the water issues in California and the water agency’s facilities and systems within the Coachella Valley. The three new tours join the on-going Imperial Dam Tour as well as the specialized school field trips available for local school children.
CVWD’s Director of Communications and Conservation Katie Evans spoke enthusiastically about the new tours saying, “These new educational tours will give customers a chance to see the internal workings of CVWD and the expansive water systems that the district manages. The additional tours will supplement the highly popular and informative Imperial Dam Tour that we will continue to offer.”
The three new tours include:
The Domestic & Stormwater Tour: During this tour participants will learn how CVWD collects and tests more than 22,000 water samples annually to ensure safe, high-quality drinking water. Participants will visit a well site where CVWD pumps water from the aquifer and delivers it to customers through a complex distribution system. A second stop at a reservoir will show how water is stored for reliable delivery to homes and businesses 24/7. This tour will also travel through the La Quinta portion of CVWD’s stormwater protection and flood control facilities to show how the district protects its 590 square miles from flooding.
The Canal, Agriculture & Replenishment Tour: This tour shows how water is monitored and accounted for from CVWD’s Control Room using microwave communication devices and state-of-the-art technology. This tour will include a stop at a replenishment facility where Colorado River water percolates into the groundwater basin replacing some of what valley consumers have used. Participants will also visit a local farm area where micro-irrigation is used and saves more than 30 percent of water over traditional irrigation methods.
The Wastewater Treatment, Mid-Valley Pipeline & Groundwater Sustainability Tour: A visit to the Mid-Valley Pump Station where water is pumped out of the Coachella Canal to the treatment plant and is blended with recycled wastewater to supplement golf course irrigation needs is included with this informative tour. The tour will also visit CVWD’s wastewater treatment plant in Palm Desert where approximately 10 million gallons of wastewater is processed daily. Participants will learn how CVWD recycles this water through a multi-step treatment process for outdoor irrigation on golf courses and other landscapes. A visit to the Desert Willow Golf Resort in Palm Desert is also included along with a discussion of their use of recycled water for irrigation.
These three new CVWD tours complement the district’s 10 to 12-hour tour that travels (by bus) along the Coachella Canal to the Mexican border and back. The tour is an opportunity to gain a better understanding of how the Colorado River impacts the Coachella Valley. This tour has an admission price of $40 and sells out quickly.
A limited number of private, customized tours are also offered by CVWD each fall and spring based on budget, staff and facility availability. Private bus tours have a maximum of 25 participants per bus and must have a minimum of 10 participants. Tour participants get a first-hand look at a municipal well site, a water storage reservoir, Lake Cahuilla (which is the terminus of the Coachella Canal), a groundwater replenishment facility and a wastewater reclamation plant which produces recycled water for use on golf courses. Groups that have not scheduled a private tour within the last three years will be given priority.
Additionally, school field trips to district facilities are available to groups of students and can be tailored to address specific topics. Among our most popular destinations are the Wastewater Reclamation Plant in Palm Desert, the control room and demonstration garden in Coachella, the replenishment facilities in La Quinta and also at the Whitewater Spreading Area. However, CVWD does not provide transportation for field trips.
For further information on any of CVWD’s tours including information about the required liability waiver, and to sign up for a tour, visit: www.cvwd.org/tours or call the district at: 760-398-2651.