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Coachella Valley Water District’s New Groundwater Replenishment Facility Construction Underway
Groundwater sustainability has been a long-term commitment for the Coachella Valley Water District (CVWD). Long before the most recent drought, CVWD realized the need to design facilities at Whitewater – on west bank of the Whitewater River, 10 miles northwest of Palm Springs in Riverside County – to capture the runoff from the local mountains. This realization and the decision the protect the health of the aquifer dates back to 1918.
Construction is now underway on a new replenishment facility in the City of Palm Desert as the next step for CVWD to maintain protection of the aquifer and to continue providing safe, reliable and affordable water supplies in the Coachella Valley. The district also operates the Thomas Levy Replenishment Facility in the east Coachella Valley.
“CVWD is proud of our long history of stewardship of our groundwater that stretches back to our formation 100 years ago,” said Jim Barrett, CVWD general manager. “The mid-valley replenishment facility is the next step in this ongoing commitment.”
Along with neighboring Desert Water Agency the two agencies have replenished more than 3.3 million acre-feet of imported water into the aquifer. When the new mid-valley Palm Desert facility is completed and operational it is expected to add up to 25,000 acre-feet of Colorado River water annually into the aquifer. Colorado River water is a source of drinking water for more than 30 million people. It is high quality and requires no treatment before it percolates into the aquifer through a natural filtration process. CVWD operates the 123-mile Coachella Canal as the conveyance to import Colorado River water to the region.
The new, mid-valley facility is anticipated to cost $9.8 million for its evaluation, design and construction. Most of the project funding is from the West Valley Replenishment Fund, which generates revenue primarily from the Replenishment Assessment Charge paid by public and private entities that use wells to pump groundwater.
Construction of the Palm Desert Groundwater Replenishment Facility will be done in two phases. Initially replenishment ponds will be constructed just south of CVWD’s Steve Robbins Administration Building in Palm Desert. The second phase will construct replenishment ponds within the Whitewater River Stormwater Channel, between Cook Street and Fred Waring Drive.
CVWD serves more than a 1,000-square-mile area reaching from parts of Cathedral City to the communities surrounding the Salton Sea. In addition to serving domestic water and managing groundwater replenishment, CVWD also provides irrigation water, regional stormwater protection and wastewater collection and reclamation services. The district is a State Water contractor.