Imperial Dam on Colorado River feeds ag in Imperial Valley and SoCal cities

The Imperial Dam on the Colorado River lifts water 25 feet, so that gravity can feed it to California's Imperial Valley and southern California cities. In many years, almost no water reaches Mexico.

These four massive de-silting ponds help remove most of the silt/dirt carried by the mighty Colorado, before the cleaner water is shipped to California’s Imperial Valley and SoCal cities.
The All-American Canal carries Colorado River water west to the Imperial Valley and Southern California.

We recently made a two-week tour of desert California and Arizona.  Our plan was to take in three national parks (Death Valley and Joshua Tree in California, and Grand Canyon in Arizona), see a couple spring training baseball games and friends in Phoenix and Yuma.  Along the route, we also toured the Salton Sea area, a man-made lake and environmental disaster (see my previous post that offers pictures and history of this most strange area) and, just outside Yuma, AZ, the last major dam on the Colorado River.  For years I have heard how southern California fuels its agriculture and city growth on water from the Colorado – the detective in me wanted to see how they did it.

We toured the Imperial Dam and Desilting Works; the dam spans the Colorado River 18 miles northeast of Yuma, Arizona. The purpose of the dam is to raise the water surface 25 feet and provide controlled gravity flow of water into the All-American (water to CA) and Gila Gravity Main Canals. The desilting works remove most the sediment carried by the Colorado River to prevent clogging of the canals and subsequent extensive maintenance. In 1906, silted irrigation canals helped the flooding Colorado River flood into the Imperial Valley, filling the Salton Sink with 50 feet of water and creating a lake 25 by 35 miles long.

The lesson here – when traveling, take the time to veer off course and explore the lesser-known gems that come with traveling!

This entry was posted in Mountain West (Montana, Wyoming, Utah, Colorado), Southern California, Southwest USA (Nevada, Arizona, New Mexico, Texas) and tagged , , , , , , , . Bookmark the permalink. Post a comment

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