Celebrate Mission Springs' 70th Anniversary with us
The Coachella Valley is known around the world as a desert paradise. Aside from our beautiful mountain views, one key ingredient makes our desert oasis different from most: An ample supply of underground water.
The isolated settlements of yesteryear have developed into the thriving communities of today, thanks to those who had the foresight to tap into that groundwater.
Tens of thousands of people who live in and around Desert Hot Springs can now celebrate 70 years of a safe and reliable water supply under the stewardship of Mission Springs Water District.
MSWD has one mission: To provide, protect, and preserve our most valuable resource, water. Those words capture a complex and dynamic task.
While prospecting for water, early homesteaders in the desert discovered the hot springs that made our area famous. The first subdivisions were created in 1940, when L.W. Coffee started a village he called Desert Hot Springs.
Water became the priority. When the first two attempts to form a water utility failed, local citizens pushed the idea of forming a publicly-owned district. An election brought the new Desert Hot Springs County Water District into existence with an overwhelming vote of 246 to nine. The new district officially opened for business Feb. 3, 1953, with 100,000 feet of pipelines, five water wells and two reservoirs. It covered one square mile.
The district gradually expanded over the years to include more than 1.25 million feet of pipelines, 14 water wells and 24 reservoirs. By 1987, the service area extended far beyond the original square mile in downtown Desert Hot Springs. To better reflect its customer base across the growing region, the district changed its name to Mission Springs Water District.
MSWD grew into a regional water steward. The Mission Creek Subbasin that serves MSWD customers also sits near the headwaters of the Coachella Valley Groundwater Basin, which provides drinking water for all nine desert cities and surrounding unincorporated areas. To protect that water supply, MSWD implemented the Groundwater Guardian Program in 1995. The internationally recognized program educates the community on the importance of protecting aquifers.
The local community knew for years that MSWD delivers great-tasting water. The rest of the world learned about our outstanding water in 1997, when the district entered the Berkeley Springs International Water Tasting and earned a silver medal the first year it competed.
Since then, Mission Springs Water District has won more than 10 awards, tapping the title of “best-tasting water in the world” in 2020.
Providing that great-tasting water is only part of MSWD’s work. The district also treats wastewater, which plays a significant role in protecting the community from the spread of disease. To keep up with demand, MSWD will soon supplement the Alan L. Horton Wastewater Treatment Plant with the new Regional Water Reclamation Facility, which is under construction. By the end of this year, the district will begin moving an additional 700 homes from septic systems to the centralized sewer system. These projects will help improve groundwater quality for future generations.
Mission Springs Water District is proud of our work treating wastewater, delivering drinking water and protecting our aquifers. We invite everyone to join us as we celebrate our 70th anniversary of service. Stop by Mission Springs Park in Desert Hot Springs Friday, Feb. 3 from 4-7 p.m. for children’s activities and games, face painting, music, dancing, community partner booths, food trucks/vendors and MSWD’s award-winning water. For more information, please visit www.mswd.org/Turning70.
Russ Martin is the president of the Mission Spring Water District Board of Directors. He can be reached at firstname.lastname@example.org.
This article originally appeared on Palm Springs Desert Sun: Desert Hot Springs celebrates Mission Springs Water District