Local Advocacy Groups Concerned About Proposed La Quinta Wave Park

Carmela Karcher

The Colorado River is now labeled as the most endangered river in the United States.

Local advocacy groups knew this announcement would come eventually.

But what they are concerned about right now is the upcoming meeting from the La Quinta Planning Commission and what that might mean for the community.

“It’s the wrong project in the wrong location at the wrong time,” core member of the La Quinta Residents for Responsible Development Alena Callimanis shared. “It doesn’t belong at Coral Mountain. It doesn’t really belong anywhere in the desert.”

Outrage and concern.

That’s what many are feeling about the proposed wave park in La Quinta.

“It is just so dire the information we are getting about the Colorado River,” Callimanis continued. “There is going to be less going around for everybody and what’s going to come to the aquifer is going to be reduced. So, we just can’t understand why the district is not considering the fact that they have all these water intensive projects.”

But for the city’s planning commission, it will bring in more revenue.

“I think it will bring not only a local draw, but a regional draw into La Quinta,” Design and Development Director Danny Castro said. “It’s another resort project that could be exciting.”

But aside from the 18-million gallons of water it will take to fill the wave basin, there’s another concern.

Evaporation.

“I calculated that the wave park will consume an excess of about a quarter million gallons of water a day just due to evaporation,” Educator and Biochemist Rob Hedges explained.

He brought up another point of contention: energy usage.

Specifically, he referenced how much energy it will take to cool the wave pool water down in the middle of the desert.

“A wave park has to be cool if it’s in a hot desert environment. That takes energy,” Hedges said. “If you run through the calculations, I calculate that it would take about 1.1 million kilowatt hours per day to keep that water down to roughly 82 degrees that will be required for surfers to be able to safely work in that wave park. If the park is having to cover perhaps $100,000 of energy consumption per day, that means an awful lot of surfers have to be in that park every day just to cover the energy costs.That alone would likely cause the park to fail.”

According to the developers of Coral Mountain, the intent is to use the same water source used by golf courses, which is shallow well water and imported water from the Colorado River.

We heard back from the Coachella Valley Water District about using this scarce water for the project and are still waiting for a response toward this issue.

If this passes next Tuesday, the final vote will then be decided by the La Quinta City Council.

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