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Water issues in the Imperial Valley

The Imperial Valley is one of the great agricultural sites in the world, producing more than a billion dollars worth of crops annually.

Originally desert, farming began in the valley in the late 1800s when farmers began diverting Colorado River water to irrigate the desert and convert it to productive agricultural land.

Agriculture is the primary industry in the Imperial Valley. Many of todayís landowners are second-, third- or even fourth-generation farmers.

Initially, there was plenty of water to go around. But as agriculture has expanded in the Imperial Valley and large-scale urban development has occurred to the west and north, demands for water have exceeded its availability.

This competition has resulted in a reallocation of water from agricultural irrigation to use in support of real estate development.

An agreement signed in 2003 allowed for 300,000 plus acre feet of water to be transferred from use in the Imperial Valley to support development in San Diego and other developing areas.

The funds generated by the transfer have been committed to the Imperial Irrigation District (IID), which manages the distribution of water for Imperial Valley agriculture.

A number of agricultural landowners ó organized as The Imperial Group ó are challenging the IIDís authority to enter into transfer agreements without participation by the agricultural landowners.

They are concerned about how the transfer funds will be used. Instead of the IIDís undefined use of funds, The Imperial Group has prepared a nine-point plan that would commit the funds to improved irrigation technology, community services such as education and health, and economic development.

They oppose the IIDís plan to maintain the status quo. Doing so will result in a decline in the economic health of Imperial County. The Imperial Groupís approach will support new jobs, new housing, improved schools, better health care and the attraction of new business to the region.

The Imperial Valley Center

The IVCNF is a non-profit, non-partisan community foundation whose representation is broad-based and reflects the diversity of the Imperial Valley community and is committed to raising the profile of the Imperial Valley by establishing a regional identity.


Imperial Valley Water Rights