Groundwater provides more than 40 percent of California’s drinking water. To protect this vital resource, the State of California created the Groundwater Ambient Monitoring and Assessment (GAMA) Program. The Priority Basin Project of the GAMA Program provides a comprehensive assessment of the State’s groundwater quality and increases public access to groundwater-quality information. Coachella Valley is one of the study areas being evaluated. The Coachella study area is approximately 820 square miles (2,124 square kilometers) and includes the Coachella Valley groundwater basin (California Department of Water Resources, 2003). Coachella Valley has an arid climate, with average annual rainfall of about 6 inches (15 centimeters). The runoff from the surrounding mountains drains to rivers that flow east and south out of the study area to the Salton Sea. Land use in the study area is approximately 67 percent (%) natural, 21% agricultural, and 12% urban. The primary natural land cover is shrubland. The largest urban areas are the cities of Indio and Palm Springs (2010 populations of 76,000 and 44,000, respectively). Groundwater in this basin is used for public and domestic water supply and for irrigation. The main water-bearing units are gravel, sand, silt, and clay derived from surrounding mountains. The primary aquifers in Coachella Valley are defined as those parts of the aquifers corresponding to the perforated intervals of wells listed in the California Department of Public Health database. Public-supply wells in Coachella Valley are completed to depths between 490 and 900 feet (149 to 274 meters), consist of solid casing from the land surface to a depth of 260 to 510 feet (79 to 155 meters), and are screened or perforated below the solid casing. Recharge to the groundwater system is primarily runoff from the surrounding mountains, and by direct infiltration of irrigation. The primary sources of discharge are pumping wells, evapotranspiration, and underflow to the Salton Sea and Imperial Valley areas.
Additional publication details
USGS Numbered Series
Groundwater quality in Coachella Valley, California
U.S. Geological Survey
California Water Science Center
Report: 4 p.; Related Reports: SIR 2012-5040, FS 2012-3032, FS 2012-3033, FS 2012-3034, FS 2012-3035, FS 2012-3036