Coachella Valley Water District – System Conservation Implementation Agreement -Lower Colorado Conservation and Efficiency Program 2024-2026


SCH Number
Public Agency
Coachella Valley Water District (CVWD)
Document Title
Coachella Valley Water District – System Conservation Implementation Agreement -Lower Colorado Conservation and Efficiency Program 2024-2026
Document Type
NOE - Notice of Exemption
Document Description
The proposed action consists of CVWD implementing a fallowing program for the System Conservation Implementation Agreement- Lower Colorado Conservation and Efficiency Program under which CVWD will enter into agreements with participating growers and the Bureau of Reclamation. CVWD’s conservation participation will take place within the CVWD service area for Colorado River Water irrigation service area which is located in the Eastern Coachella Valley, Eastern Riverside County. Under the program CVWD will compensate the participating growers in consideration for water that is conserved by the fallowing of the agricultural farmland with a history of irrigation. The water conserved will not be consumptively used by CVWD or other Colorado River contractors and will instead be made available by forbearance to assist in the management of reservoir levels in the Colorado River in the Lower Basin during current drought conditions. The program is intended to operate temporarily, conserving up to 10,000 Acre feet per year (AFY) in CVWD contributions in 2024, 2025, and 2026. CVWD on average provides approximately 245,000 AFY of Colorado River Water for agricultural irrigation. The program is not a long-term program intended to permanently change agricultural land use designations. The program is anticipated to begin in February 2024 and end in December 2026, but may be extended if drought conditions persist. A participating grower will be responsible for any required weed control and dust control on the fallowed land and will agree not to change land maintenance and crop cultivation practices on other lands within CVWD so as to result in an increased consumptive use of water on those lands. Participants in the program will be prohibited from shifting water use to pumped groundwater while in the fallowing program.

Contact Information

William Patterson
Agency Name
Coachella Valley Water District
Job Title
Environmental Supervisor
Contact Types
Lead/Public Agency


CVWD Service Area
Other Location Info
CVWD Service Area, Riverside County

Notice of Exemption

Exempt Status
Statutory Exemption
Type, Section or Code
State CEQA Guidelines § 15277
Reasons for Exemption
This program will not result in expansion of use of CVWD’s existing irrigation distribution system or its irrigation drainage system. Accordingly, since the proposed program involves operation and implementation of CVWD’s existing irrigation distribution facilities and irrigation drainage system facilities with no or negligible expansion of use beyond that existing at the time of the lead agency’s determination, these actions qualify for a Class 1 Categorical Exemption (State CEQA Guidelines Section 15301).

Exempt Status
Categorical Exemption
Type, Section or Code
State CEQA Guidelines §15301
Reasons for Exemption
Environmental impacts expected from the implementation of the 2007 Interim Guidelines For Lower Basin Shortages and the Coordinated Operations of Lake Powell and Lake Mead (Guidelines) were analyzed in an Environmental Impact Statement (EIS), pursuant to National Environmental Policy Act (NEPA) of 1969 (refer to the following link ( The proposed action of using conserved water from the proposed Conservation Program to assist in managing reservoir elevations is within the scope of analysis of actions that were previously analyzed in that EIS. Thus, to the extent the proposed actions involve or may affect areas outside of California, such as at Lake Mead or on the portions of the Colorado River in Nevada or Arizona, they are exempt from CEQA under a Statutory Exemption (Public Resources Code Section 21080(b)(14) and State CEQA Guidelines Section 15277). The proposed action of adopting the Coachella Valley Water District Lower Colorado Conservation and Efficiency Program for 204 through 2026 is exempt under the provisions of CEQA and the State CEQA Guidelines.
County Clerk


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