Desert Water Agency celebrates was formed as a special district on Sept. 15, 1961 to ensure adequate water for the western part of the Coachella Valley. For a look at DWA through the years, check out our gallery and timeline below.


Webinar: 60 years – a legacy of sustainability

Desert Water Agency and Palm Springs Historical Society hosted a special anniversary webinar on September 15, 2021 to celebrate DWA’s 60 years of service. The webinar shows how water has helped our desert grow and thrive, how DWA came to be and what’s next for the water in Palm Springs.

Watch here!



Click on each year to see the information.


  • In October construction of the Snow Creek Filtration Plant is completed. The plant filters water for distribution to Snow Creek Village. 



  • Construction on the Snow Creek Filtration Plant begins. 


  • In April Gov. Jerry Brown lifts the drought state of emergency. The drought is officially over but DWA still promotes and implements water conservation measures for long-term sustainability. 


  • Sustainable Groundwater Management Act becomes law
  • DWA becomes Groundwater Sustainability Agency within its boundaries
  • Water restrictions are implemented as a result of the drought. 


  • MSWD, DWA, CVWD and other agencies work to update Regional Water Management Plan


  • Water Management Plan adopted by MSWD, DWA and CVWD


  • Start of the one of the worst droughts in the region on record. Gov. Jerry Brown calls for a “drought state of emergency” across the state. 


  • MSWD, DWA, CVWD and other agencies work to develop Regional Water Management Plan
  • DWA completes 1/2 million gallon reservoir, expanding the influent storage capacity at the recycling facility  


  • DWA re-landscaped the Operations Center with water efficient desert landscaping to serve as a conservation garden. 



  • DWA installs a solar field at its operations center.



  • DWA completes construction of the Mission Creek Groundwater Replenishment ponds to recharge the subbasins in the area north of Palm Springs with imported water. 



  • Desert Water Agency requests MSWD support to commence groundwater replenishment program
  • MSWD passes Resolution 2001-15 to support DWA's groundwater replenishment program


  • MSWD General Manager sends letter to DWA acknowledging DWA and CVWD as the entities responsible for managing and replenishing the Mission Creek Groundwater Subbasin


  • DWA and CVWD begin replenishing groundwater supply through exchange with Metropolitan Water District of Southern California.


  • DWA purchased the Palm Springs and Cathedral City Water Company to provide domestic and municipal water service to the area.


  • DWA and CVWD enter into separate exchange agreements with Metropolitan Water District for Colorado River Supplies


  • DWA enters into contract with the Department of Water Resources for imported water
  • Property owners in Desert Hot Springs area petition DWA to be brought into the DWA boundary
  • DWA passes ordinance to annex Desert Hot Springs area only if Desert Hot Springs County Water District (now named Mission Springs Water District) consents
  • Desert Hot Springs County Water District (now MSWD) passes resolution to be annexed into DWA
  • Desert Hot Springs community votes to be annexed into DWA service area
  • DWA expands boundaries


  • On Sept. 15, Senate Bill 1082 becomes effective establishing DWA as a special district. 
  • On Sept. 18, the Riverside County Board of Supervisors appoint the first DWA directors: Francis Crocker, Edgar McCoubrey, George Ripley and Herbert Samson, all of Palm Springs, and Ivan Sharp of Cathedral City.