The Coachella Valley Water District has clarified its plans for handling stormwater runoff that is expected throughout the region due to an incoming storm system.
The water district will divert runoff from percolation ponds in an effort to protect them. Stormwater is usually collected by those ponds, which are located near interstate 10 and the windmills in Palm Springs.
Water comes from surrounding canyons and mountains, into the Whitewater River, and then flows into those ponds, which are full right now from recent winter storms.
CVWD has no plans to release any of the water that has already been collected in the ponds. However, as a safety precaution, will divert any new runoff to prevent the ponds from being damaged.
“Heavy flash flooding can destroy the replenishment ponds. So, if there’s a mild rainstorm happening and there’s flow, we will catch that in our ponds for replenishment,” according to Lorraine Garcia, Communication Manager and Public Information Officer for Coachella Valley Water District.
On Wednesday, The City of Palm Springs sent out an alert, warning about the possibility of that diverted stormwater flowing across Indian Canyon Dr. and potentially creating another road closure. The road just re-opened today following Tuesday's storm.
"Coachella Valley Water District (CVWD) owns the percolation ponds on the west side of the wash. These ponds are used to recharge the aquifer under the valley. However, too much runoff can destroy the ponds and prevent any aquifer recharge from happening. CVWD has indicated that due to the storm event they will divert flows (at blue circle below) downstream of their facilities until Tuesday of next week (1/17/2023). This means that water has the potential to flow across Indian Canyon for a few days after the rain stops. When CVWD stops diverting the flows downstream and into their ponds the water will stop flowing across Indian."City of Palm Springs
A berm has been put in place to protect the percolation ponds from heavy floodwaters from the canyons and mountains expected this weekend. The berm will direct floodwater through the natural path of the Coachella Valley Stormwater Channel.