March 15, 2021

CVWD, Desert Arc Partner on New Recycling Program

Staff & Wire Reports

Coachella Valley Water District (CVWD) has joined with the nonprofit organization Desert Arc to create a program to recycle irrigation controllers that are being replaced with more efficient models.

Under the program, CVWD will ask customers participating in the district’s irrigation controller rebate program if they want to recycle their old controllers. The donated old controllers will be collected and recycled by Desert Arc, which provides job training and other services to people with developmental and intellectual disabilities in the Coachella Valley and Morongo Basin areas.

“We are excited to work with Desert Arc,” said Katie Evans, Director of Communication and Conservation for CVWD. “Our customers who are already taking advantage of our conservation rebate program to save water and money can feel even better knowing that the old controllers are being recycled by such a valuable organization.”

“Since its founding in 1959, Desert Arc’s mission is to enhance the lives and create opportunities for people with intellectual and developmental disabilities,” said Richard Balocco, President/CEO of Desert Arc. “Desert Arc is dedicated to social innovation and has created a variety of enterprises such as its Recycling and Shredding Divisions, which are integral to our cause.  Our nonprofit organization is committed to implementing eco-friendly business practices by providing these critical and environmentally friendly business services to area companies and individuals alike.  We are very pleased to work in partnership with CVWD on this sustainability program.”

CVWD Water Management Technician Chris Thomas developed the idea for the collaboration with Desert Arc. He looked at other options for recycling but found that programs sent the devices out of state for recycling.

“I thought, let’s do this locally for a win-win,” he said. “The devices are getting recycled and the initiative is providing job opportunities to people with disabilities.”

Angelique Ontiveros, Desert Arc’s Director of Business Services, said Desert Arc trains and employs adults with disabilities, while taking into account each client’s unique needs and abilities, enabling them to learn job skills through collecting, processing, and recycling of materials.

“This can take the form of picking up a big load of cardboard and inserting it into a baler, or diligently disassembling an old computer to uncover electrical components,” she said. “There are 35 people with disabilities currently working at Desert Arc’s Indio Recycling Center on a full-time basis.”

The rebate program provides CVWD residential customers free smart, weather-based irrigation controllers that automatically adjust the irrigation system’s run time based on weather data. CVWD will install and program the controller, free of charge, for eligible customers. Use of a smart controller reduces the amount of water in the cooler months and increases the amount in the summer.

Additional information about CVWD rebate programs is available at

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