California Imperial Valley has plentiful water during drought

Imperial Dam (Credit:

Imperial Dam (Credit:

The Imperial Valley borders Mexico, has no water resources of its own, yet is an agricultural powerhouse with lots of water. How can this be, especially when the Central Valley of California is facing zero water allocations? It’s because the Imperial valley gets all its water from the Colorado River and has senior water rights that trump everyone else. It gets about 20% of all water from the Colorado. Welcome to the convoluted system of water rights in the Southwest and California. Under this antiquated system, Arizona and Nevada will have their water rationed before the Imperial Valley does.

We recognize we live in an area that is blessed to have strong, senior rights on the Colorado River,” said Linsey Dale, executive director of the county Farm Bureau. “We are aware that other areas are desperate for the water we have.”

San Diego and Los Angles look thirstily upon that water. There have already been serious battles over the water. A while back, the feds forced the Imperial Valley to sell water to the cities. Expect more of this as the drought continues, especially from Nevada and Arizona.


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