The rich history of Coachella Valley in the desert region of Riverside County, California, is embedded within the Whitewater River watershed and the Coachella Valley aquifer. Archaeological evidence confirms that the local Cahuilla people have inhabited the Coachella Valley area for centuries, relying on the water for drinking, irrigation, and the healing powers of the natural hot springs pools. Today, the Whitewater River continues to serve as a critical water resource that replenishes the Coachella Valley aquifer—a drinking source for 400,000 people, including the reservation for the Agua Caliente Band of Cahuilla people, and 66,000 acres of farmland. Coachella Valley is also home to a diverse array of animals and plants species that are now threatened by degradation of water quality caused by urban and agricultural development. The river, aquifer, and Salton Sea, to which it drains, suffer from a legacy of poor development practices, antiquated infrastructure insufficient for the area’s current and future growth, pollution from agricultural return flow and unpermitted concentrated animal feeding operations (CAFOs), industrial runoff, and aquifer overdrafting.
Coachella Valley Waterkeeper was founded by Orange County Coastkeeper Garry Brown. A founding member of Waterkeeper Alliance, Garry plans to hire a Coachella Valley Waterkeeper who will be a voice for the people of the Coachella Valley who appreciate the cultural, environmental, and economic importance of clean and accessible water. The Waterkeeper will seek to rebalance the conversation to consider impacts development has on water supplies and water quality, strengthen water conservation effort, and demand improvements to agricultural, municipal, and industrial dischargers polluting imperiled the Valley’s water bodies. Coachella Valley Waterkeeper will work to achieve a sustainable watershed free of pollution through a combination of education, advocacy, restoration, enforcement, and conservation.
3151 Airway Ave., Suite F-110
Costa Mesa, California 92673