Carrie Oliphant is the first female director of engineering at the Coachella Valley Water District.
PHOTOGRAPH AND VIDEO BY ETHAN KAMINSKY PRODUCTIONS
Carrie Oliphant, a 20-year veteran of the Coachella Valley Water District, is the agency’s first female director of engineering, and working her way up, she says, has been “a really good experience” in a “very supportive environment.”
Her job is a huge undertaking, as the century-old public agency covers more than 1,000 square miles and services 110,000 homes and businesses. In addition, Oliphant explains, CVWD provides sewer and wastewater treatment services, recycled and nonpotable water, regional stormwater protection and flood control, agriculture water and drainage services, groundwater management, and water conservation.
A native of Northern California, Oliphant moved to the desert 25 years ago after completing degrees in engineering and literature. At CVWD, she has overseen a variety of projects, such as the construction of three Eastern Coachella Valley treatment facilities that remove arsenic from drinking water and a Palm Desert groundwater replenishment project that puts Colorado River water back into the ground for long term water sustainability. “Water sustainability is one of the top priorities, along with being responsive to development to support the local economy,” she says.
Outside of work, Oliphant enjoys activities with her son and daughter, both members of Scouts BSA. They also regularly hike and visit the Palm Springs Aerial Tramway and local museums.
“I believe Greater Palm Springs is a place of opportunity,” she says, “as well as a tourist destination because the water agencies here work really hard to create a sustainable water supply.”
VIDEO: Carrie Oliphant chats about the challenges of her position at the Coachella Valley Water District.