Program to Test Treatment Technologies for Colorado River Water

The Coachella Valley Water District (CVWD) in California has begun construction on a pilot facility that will test several promising technologies for treating imported Colorado River water for domestic use, officials said on Oct. 16.

The feasibility of blending treated water with groundwater also will be studied during the three-month process, since blending could lower costs and improve treatment procedures, officials said. The treated water produced on the 75-acre test site will not be distributed for domestic or other uses.

Millions of Southern California residents have been drinking and using treated Colorado River water in their homes and businesses for nearly 80 years. Without it, the region would have run out of enough water to sustain growth and development long ago, officials said.

Colorado River water was first imported into the Coachella Valley in 1949, but its use has been limited to irrigation, predominately agriculture, and groundwater replenishment. Untreated water either is delivered by an underground system from the 122-mile canal to farms and a growing number of golf courses or diverted for groundwater recharge.

Consumers use this water source for drinking and other domestic uses but only after it has been filtered through hundreds of feet of the aquifer's natural filtration. The result is water (in most of the valley) so pristine it needs minimal treatment to meet all federal and state drinking water health standards, officials said.

Most of the construction on the testing facility will be performed by CVWD personnel at an estimated cost of $250,000. Testing will begin next month.

For more information, contact CVWD at

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