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March 31, 2010

MSWD-CVWD Joint Meeting - March 30

The audio recording of this joint meeting between the Mission Springs Water District and Coachella Valley Water District is here.

This was a opportunity for some face-to-face between Mission Springs and Coachella Valley at CVWD's headquarters in Coachella.
CVWD (5612)

They've got a desert-friendly garden there (as does MSWD in Desert Hot Springs) and I got a few photos:

In The CVWD Garden (5607)In The CVWD Garden (5605)

Blue Hibiscus 'Alyogyne huegelii' (5610) Blue Hibiscus Alyogyne huegelii in the color my camera saw.Blue Hibiscus 'Alyogyne huegelii' (5610A) The color closer to what I recall seeing.

At the meeting we had the usual suspects from the MSWD board and staff, except Director Mary Gibson. On the CVWD board we had President Corky Larson, Vice President Peter Nelson, Russell Kitahara and Tellis Codekas. Absent from the CVWD board was Franz De Klotz. Steve Robbins is the General Manager.

Public Comments

Dick Cromwell [I did say the usual suspects were there, didn't I?] said this valley needs a true regional approach to infrastructure. He thinks it would be good if CVWD and MSWD began to talk about doing something jointly.

CVWD Water Management Plan Update

This was presented by General Manager Robbins. It covers the main basin of the Coachella Valley, not the Mission Creek basin. A separate water management plan will address the basins used by MSWD. The WMP deals with dependability of sources and tries to anticipate water demand over the next 35 years. The plan for the Mission Creek basin will mesh with the plan for the main valley basin.

The Integrated Regional Water Management Plan (IRWMP) is nothing more than the region getting together to prioritize projects for state funding. It's not a water management plan in the same sense that the Urban Water Management Plan or the Water Management Plan are.


President Larson said it struck her that MSWD had taken the lead on this and expressed her appreciation for that. General Manager Wallum said MSWD couldn't have done it without the staff assistance of CVWD. The meeting the IRWMP consultant will be on Friday this week. Mr. Wallum said that once all the parties involved in the IRWMP understand each other, it will lead to greater cooperation and savings. G.M. Robbins said that right now they are trying to keep costs and low and keep to schedule. He said that the sooner we can get an acceptable plan, then the sooner we can get state money. G.M. Wallum said we had been patient for five years already and said a good plan was a high priority.

President Larson said she doesn't think CVWD goes after grants as wholeheartedly as MSWD does. She suggested that if MSWD is particularly astute at getting grants, the two districts could work together. The CVWD could bring its size factor while the MSWD might "have a demographic need that is helpful." (I think that might be a suggestion that MSWD has more people who fit the definition of "disadvantaged community").

Vice President Brown said the process is very important, that stakeholders and disadvantaged communities must be involved. He again cited the fact the Metropolitan Water District's plan was rejected by the state because it didn't sufficiently involve disadvantaged communities. President Larson said she wouldn't stop as just disadvantaged communities, but thinks all communities should be involved. Marilyn McKay explained that a "disadvantaged community" is defined only by income (not education, not unemployment). It is any community with 80% or less of the state average income. That's state average, so there seems to be no allowance for the fact, say, that incomes in San Francisco County are far higher than they are in Inyo County.

G.M. Robbins said CVWD has greatly increased communications with Indian tribes and that includes some of the poorest of the poor [the Torres-Martinez Indians and Duroville, for instance]. CVWD has been having monthly meetings to which all the Indian tribes are invited. They all participate at some level, he said.

Mr. Robbins said he would prefer to use state money to assure safe (not tainted with arsenic) drinking water and use rate-based money to pay for a regional treatment plant. The safe drinking water is a higher priority.

MSWD Groundwater Quality Protection Program

G.M. Wallum said MSWD has been working on this for 14 years. Basically, it's to replace the septics with sewers. He pointed out that the city has the power to approve or regulate septics, but it falls to the water district to sewer the area. He described the history of AD 11 and AD 12, assessment districts to pay for sewers. Over the last decade the district has invested about $20 million in sewers. AD 12 sunsets in 2014. He said MSWD needs CVWD's support with our Congressional delegation to make sure we get the $35 million for sewers that has already been authorized. He went on to say that he thought our hot water basin was more threatened by the septics than our drinking water basin is.

November 2010 Water Bond

G.M. Robbins said we need the IRWMP completed so we can get funds from the water bond. He said if we don't fix the delta and related issues, California's "going to be in a world of hurt." When the economy picks up, the water issues need to be resolved, otherwise anyone who wants to stop growth will have a much better chance of succeeding.

G.M. Wallum said that the MSWD board would do a resolution of support for the bonds. V.P. Brown said he is concerned the bonds may not be approved. He says we need to identify specific local projects that could be funded out of the bonds in order to provide good arguments to valley voters. Director Wright cited economic development as a reason to support the bonds. G.M. Robbins mentioned arsenic treatment, new sewers, a new sewage treatment facility could all be used as local examples. The bond designates a certain amount of money for the Colorado River Basin. Mr. Robbins said Imperial Irrigation District and Coachella Valley will have the two IRWMPs in that basin. Mojave is split, so that part of its area is in the Colorado River Basin. President Larson said that Coachella Valley could vote 100% for the water bonds, but the votes are in San Francisco, Los Angeles and San Diego and she hopes we are helping them.

California Users of Colorado River Water (5609)
California users of Colorado River Water.

Coachella Canal Siphon Map (5608)
Siphons on the Coachella Canal.

Filed under Coachella Valley,Desert Hot Springs,Photography | permalink | March 31, 2010 at 08:46 PM


Ron, after seeing your info and maps, I was motivated to find out more about the history and usage of Colorado River water. Thanks.

Posted by: Richard H. at Apr 2, 2010 12:19:46 AM

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