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Imported Water

When people settled in our region and began using groundwater without replacing it, the aquifer levels began to drop. Desert Water Agency was created in 1961 in order to manage local groundwater by importing water from Northern California.

Recharge aims to eliminate overdraft and help achieve long-term sustainability.

The State Water Project is the state’s primary water conveyance system from north to south. It brings snowmelt from the Sierras along with water stored in massive reservoirs to Southern California. DWA has rights to 55,750 acre-feet a year of State Water Project water annually. Various environmental, regulatory, weather-related and structural factors limit the amount of water DWA actually receives each year. The water brought in also helps generate hydropower at the Whitewater hydroelectric generating plant to help offset costs. Because there is no pipeline or aqueduct from the State Water Project to Palm Springs, DWA and Coachella Valley Water District exchange their State Water Project water with Metropolitan Water District for Colorado River water, which comes through the valley in an aqueduct.


Since 1973, DWA and Coachella Valley Water District have replenished the Whitewater River (Indio) basin with more than a trillion gallons of imported Colorado River water. About 30 million people use the Colorado River as their source of drinking water.

pdf Imported water fact sheet (1.48 MB)