Volume 8, Number 7 Coachella Valley Water District August 2004
Salvinia is a Giant
Pest in Waterways
Giant salvinia (Salvinia molesta) is a
free-ﬂoating fern with a well-deserved
reputation as one of the worst aquatic
plants in the world.
The United States Department of Coachella Canal is Drained for
Agriculture listed it as a noxious weed
in 1983. The plant is native to South Repairs and Thorough Inspection
America, but has found its way into
several United States waterways from Concrete repairs were made at two One section of the canal was ﬁlled
North Carolina to Hawaii, including locations and most of the lined portions to above normal capacity, and served
portions of the Colorado River. of the Coachella Canal were inspected as a reservoir to ﬁll orders while work
Mature plants weave themselves during the last week in July. was completed.
into a thick mat that excludes oxygen To allow for repairs and inspections Although there were interruptions in
and light. Under ideal conditions giant the diversion of water into it from the deliveries while repairs and inspections
salvinia has the ability to double its All-American Canal was stopped for were made, these were minor.
mat size in about a week. several days, which allowed the Two concrete sections of 100 and
(Continued on Page 2) waterway to drain almost entirely. 50 feet were replaced, about 30 miles
west of where the canal begins.
(Continued on Page 4)
2003 Groundwater Pumping in
the Lower Coachella Valley
Pumper AF* %
CVWD 27.0 15.7
Indio 19.0 11.0
BIDDERS ON A BRIDGE—Construction
BRIDGE Coachella 17.0 9.9
firm representatives seeking a contract to Agriculture 62.5 36.3
line the earthen portions of the Coachella
Canal attended a pre-bid meeting July 29. Aquaculture 15.0 8.7
Bids will be submitted August 26. About Golf Courses 24.0 13.9
35 miles of the canal will be lined with
concrete. (See article on Page 3)
Other 7.5 4.5
*1,000 acre-feet. 172,000 AF total
Page 2 August 2004
No Silver Lining Was Found During Canal Inspection
by Steve Robbins It’s also near the amount of water In most cases, however, we will be
general manager-chief engineer found underground in the lower using coffer dams or other techniques
Except for those who rely upon it Coachella Valley (Thermal subarea) so the canal’s water level will have to
for irrigation water, I suspect most aquifer—estimated at 19.4 million be lowered only partially, if at all.
of the valley takes the Coachella acre-feet to a depth of 1,000 feet. So while some interruptions appear
Canal for granted, especially people Had the 17 million acre-feet been unavoidable in the future, they will
who do not live or work close to it. pumped out of the ground instead be kept to an absolute minimum.
Without this important waterway, of delivered by canal, farming here Coachella Valley’s aquifer made it
however, the area’s history since as we know it would be on the possible for those who settled in this
verge of extinction, assuming it had area to do so. Without groundwater,
1949 would be very different, and
not already ceased to be viable. there would have been no beginning.
little would appear as it does today.
Naturally, some water would have To ensure that we have a promising
Since deliveries began, nearly 17
found its way from the upper valley future, however, means preserving
million acre-feet of water has been
into the lower, but 17 million acre- the aquifer today. Maintaining the
utilized by agriculture and others
feet represents 60 percent of all the canal to make sure imported water
for irrigation purposes.
water in the (Whitewater subbasin) continues to be available is among the
This is close to enough water to
aquifer beneath most of developed most effective ways to do this.
fulﬁll the domestic needs of the and soon-to-be developed areas. The chart below is among those
entire population of the state of Take that much water out of the presented during one of the special
California for about two years. ground and you have big problems meetings we are hosting for local
with the quality of what remained, growers. These sessions have been
Pest . . . along with signiﬁcant subsidence. very informative and show how
(Continued from Page 1)
I’d venture to say that were it not quickly this area’s groundwater can
Mats can grow to a depth of more for the canal, Coachella Valley would be used up—or made unusable—if
than two feet, covering an entire pond, be a very inhospitable place. we do not manage it wisely.
reservoir—even a small lake—blocking During recent
out sunlight that other plants need; inspections of
using up oxygen that ﬁsh, insects and the canal we
other aquatic dwellers depend upon. found about 50
Unchecked, giant salvinia clogs up locations where
irrigation systems and fouls the water. repairs will be
None has yet been discovered in the needed, and in a
Coachella Canal, its distribution system few instances
or valley irrigation ststems, but growers holes or other
are cautioned to watch for the plant damage is in the
and report its presence to ofﬁcials. canal bottom.
Most of this
work will be
Published by Coachella Valley Water District to performed along
inform users about governmental actions and
other conditions affecting agricultural water service the ﬁrst 49 miles
Volume 8 - Number 7 August 2004 of the canal, far
Coachella Valley Water District from sections
Post Office Box 1058
(85-995 Avenue 52) where deliveries
Coachella, CA 92236 are made.
Telephone: (760) 398-2651
Fax: (760) 398-3711 To make these
Email: email@example.com repairs we again
Steve Robbins, general manager-chief engineer will have to
Dennis Mahr, communications & legislative director drain some
Jack Porrelli, editor
August 2004 Page 3
Contractors Eager Water Advisory
To Bid On Canal Group Includes
Lining about 35 miles of still earthen
portions of the Coachella Canal will Agricultural Rep
cost about $80 million, according to
An outgrowth of the discussions
the latest estimates, with a signiﬁcant
between Coachella Valley Water
portion of that going toward actual
District and the cities of Indio and
Coachella about the lower valley
Bids for the lining—which in reality is BY THE NUMBERS . . . Coachella
the construction of a new, concrete- replenishment assessment charge
Canal Lining project manager Wayne
lined canal segment that will replace was the creation of a Joint Water
Dahl reviews some of the statistics with
the current earthen sections—are due Policy Advisory Committee.
contractors during a July 29 pre-bid
by August 26. So a pre-bid meeting at A panel of 13 representatives is
meeting at the water district.
the water district’s Coachella facilities being recommended, with one of
attracted a big crowd from contractors the committee members ofﬁcially
After factoring in water that will be
and subcontractors. representing agricultural interests.
used for environmental mitigation, the Several of the members will be
Those who attended also spent several
project will net about 26,000 acre-feet appointed by CVWD’s board of
hours touring the canal by bus, getting
that currently is lost to seepage. directors, who have not yet done
a ﬁrst-hand look at the environmental
issues and other concerns that will have A portion of this saved water will go so but have recommendations from
to be addressed by the project. to fulﬁll a treaty between the federal general manager-chief engineer
The current schedule calls for the government and Indian tribes. The Steve Robbins.
contract to be awarded on Sept 14., so balance goes to the San Diego County Among those the CVWD board
it is expected that actual construction Water Authority, a condition of the will appoint is the representative
will begin this year. Quantiﬁcation Settlement Agreement. from the agricultural industry.
Anyone interested in the position
CV Groundwater Is A Major Focus of is encouraged to contact CVWD.
Other representatives will include
Latest Ag Water Conservation Sessions Indio (2), Coachella (2), La Quinta,
CVWD (2), Indian tribes, Building
Two sessions in July, sponsored by During the next meeting Ben Industry Association, golf courses,
the water district and conducted by Olson, of Olson Engineering Systems, Riverside County and aquaculture.
JMLord, Inc., focused on the value of reported that when all expenses are
protecting the aquifer and the beneﬁts factored in, costs for
from switching from groundwater to using groundwater
canal water for irrigation purposes. instead of imported
The meetings go to a once-a-month canal water are
schedule beginning this month. The more than double.
next session is Aug. 18. All meetings The next session
are on the third Wednesday of the focuses on the past,
month, at noon, at the water district’s present and future
Coachella facilities. of the Colorado
On July 21 Dave Ringel, a consultant River, with Steve
to the district on the Lower Valley Jones of the Bureau
Replenishment Assessment, reiterated of Reclamation as
negative impacts on the aquifer—and the guest speaker.
farming—if overdraft is not curtailed. There is no charge
Salinity increases dramatically after the
The chart at right demonstrates how to attend and lunch
water has been used to irrigate crops
agricultural drainage affects salinity. is included.
Page 4 August 2004
Canal Repairs . . .
(Continued from Page 1)
Between 80 and 90 percent of the
two, 49- and 39-mile concrete-lined
sections of the canal were inspected
while the repairs were being made.
Earthen sections of the waterway
were not inspected because they are
being replaced by a parallel, concrete
canal, the construction of which could
begin before the end of this year.
Silt dredging also was performed at
some sections of the canal.
Diversions into the canal began at 5
p.m. on Monday, July 26, and by 6
a.m. Wednesday some sections were
Once the canal was back to normal, CV Water Symposium
water district personnel turned their
completely drained. These areas were attention to another important form Is Planned For October
“dry” until 1 p.m. Friday, but by the of maintenance by restocking areas of Details were being ﬁnalized as Farm
end of the day the canal was ﬁlled and the waterway with grass-eating carp. Water Watch went to press, but the
fully operational. A special, sterilized breed is used. water district is organizing a valleywide
water symposium for late October.
Various agencies and stakeholders
are being invited to participate. Policy
makers and representatives from many
diverse groups are expected to discuss
a wide variety of water-related issues.
Drought Continues to
Take Toll on Colorado
Lake Mead was at 13.95 million
acre-feet—54 percent of capacity–as
of late July with no signs that an end
to the drought is near. The Colorado
River for April through July is projected
to have ﬂows of 3.6 million acre-feet,
which is 45 percent of its average.
Coachella Valley Water District Presort Standard
Post Ofﬁce Box 1058 U.S. POSTAGE
Coachella, CA 92236 PAID
Permit No. 20