Bureau of Reclamation and Yuma Crossing National Heritage Area Celebrate the Opening of the Yuma Siphon Irrigation Project Historical Exhibits

Media Contact: Doug Hendrix, (928) 343-8145

For Release: February 15, 2012

In commemoration of Arizona's Centennial, the Bureau of Reclamation and Yuma Crossing National Heritage Area today are hosting a ribbon-cutting ceremony to celebrate the grand opening of historical exhibits commemorating the historic Yuma Siphon Project.

The siphon, touted as an engineering marvel when originally built, is still in use today and located near the Yuma Quartermaster Depot. Water first bubbled through the structure on June 29, 1912 - the year of Arizona's Statehood - helping fuel the dramatic growth of agriculture and commerce in the Yuma Valley over the past century.

"With Yuma Heritage Crossing staff's tireless efforts to rescue and preserve these buildings and original artifacts, we are now able to celebrate the rich history of these historic water projects built along the lower Colorado River," said Dr. Terry Fulp, Acting Lower Colorado Regional Director for Reclamation. "As we cut the ribbon opening these educational exhibits to public view, Yuma residents and visitors have new insights into Reclamation's water development history in this area and our collaboration with the irrigation districts."

The Siphon, located in part beneath the Quartermaster Depot grounds, was constructed in 1912 and continues to reliably deliver irrigation water from the Yuma Main Canal to the Yuma Valley through this massive tunnel dug underneath the Colorado River. Though it's a century old, the Siphon remains an integral component of Reclamation's water delivery infrastructure - delivering water from the All-American Canal to tens of thousands of people and over 50,000 acres of prime farmland in this Valley.

Yuma's role in this historic journey started almost as soon as the Reclamation Act left President Theodore Roosevelt's desk. The passage of the Reclamation Act of 1902 and the initiation of the larger Yuma Project set in motion a major effort by the Federal government to develop and maintain water-related resources in the United States. The Yuma Project included the first Reclamation-built dam on the Colorado River, Laguna Dam, and later, the Yuma Siphon.

In 1997, through joint efforts by the City of Yuma and Arizona State Parks, the "Yuma Crossing State Historic Park" opened at the original site of the U.S. Army Quartermaster depot. Administered through funds provided by the National Park Service and other means, the heritage area program lends support to local public-private initiatives in areas that tell nationally important stories about American geography, history and culture.

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Reclamation is the largest wholesale water supplier and the second largest producer of hydroelectric power in the United States, with operations and facilities in the 17 Western States. Its facilities also provide substantial flood control, recreation, and fish and wildlife benefits. Visit our website at www.usbr.gov and follow us on Twitter @USBR.