Furnace Creek and Cow Creek Water and Wastewater to be Rehabilitated through GAOA Funding

A white machine dumps dirt into a trench. Men in uniform and reflective vests stand to the left. The landscape is bare open ground with distant mountains.
NPS staff repairing a broken waterline in Cow Creek area of Death Valley National Park.


White temporary sign, "Restrooms closed" in front of cinder block building.
When Furnace Creek water system is broken, the park rents portable toilets to serve the public at Furnace Creek Visitor Center, Texas Spring Campground, Sunset Campground, and Furnace Creek Campground. For three days after each repair, water is non-potable unless boiled first.


Death Valley National Park's two largest water systems and its largest wastewater treatment system is receiving a major overhaul with funding from the Great American Outdoors Act (GAOA).

Project at a Glance:
This $62 million project will rehabilitate water and wastewater utilities at Furnace Creek and Cow Creek.

What are the Benefits:

Rehabilitation of the water and wastewater systems at Furnace Creek and Cow Creek is a priority for the Park because the systems are past their life expectancy and are breaking several times per month.

  • Interruptions in water and wastewater services affect the comfort and health of 1.7 million annual visitors, 700 year round residents (including of Timbisha Shoshone tribal village), and employees.
  • Wastewater system failures are periodically releasing raw sewage into the park, damaging natural and cultural resources and in some cases resulting in visitor exposures to raw sewage.
  • Repairs of emergency water and wastewater system failures are costly for the park and detract from other mission-related activities.
  • This system is designed to handle Death Valley’s extreme heat, mineralized water, and flash floods, which should greatly reduce needs for emergency repairs in the future. The rehabilitated system provides for potential increases in visitation.

Current Status

The Finding of No Significant Impact (FONSI) was signed in May 2024, completing the environmental assessment of the project.

Death Valley National Park

Last updated: May 23, 2024