- Projects & Facilities
- Yuma Project
State: Arizona and California
Region: Lower Colorado Basin Region
Yuma and Yuma Auxiliary Project History (68 KB)
Yuma Area Office
Lower Colorado Watershed
Imperial Reservoir Watershed
The Yuma Project provides water to irrigate 68,091 acres in the vicinity of the towns of Yuma, Somerton, and Gadsden in Arizona, and Bard and Winterhaven in California. The project is divided into the Reservation Division, which consists of 14,676 acres in California, and the Valley Division, which consists of 53,415 acres in Arizona. The Reservation Division is further subdivided into the 7,120-acre Bard Unit and the 7,556-acre Indian Unit. The original features of the project include Laguna Dam on the Colorado River, the Boundary Pumping Plant, one Powerplant, and a system of canals, laterals, and drains. Laguna Dam has not been used as a diversion structure since 1948.
In the 1890`s and early 1900`s, three private ditch companies were organized for the purpose of developing and irrigating the bottom lands of Yuma Valley. The Yuma County Water Users` Association was founded in 1903, and contracted with the United States for the construction of Laguna Dam, the Yuma Main Canal in California, an invert siphon under the Colorado River, and a distribution system. Following the authorization of the Yuma Project in 1904, the United States purchased the properties of the original ditch companies. The first Colorado River water was delivered through the siphon to the Arizona side of the river on June 29, 1912. The Fort Yuma Indian Reservation in California was established by executive order of January 9, 1884. The lands in the Indian Unit of the project are a part of the reservation lands and are owned by Indian allottees. The land that is irrigated is leased to various operations and is administered by the Bureau of Indian Affairs. The Bard Unit of the division is private land. Work began on the distribution system of the Reservation Division in 1908 and the deeded land was opened to settlers in 1910. The Bard Irrigation District was organized in 1927 to represent owners of the patented land in the Bard Unit.
Construction work on Laguna Diversion Dam began in July 1905. The Government obtained the pumping plant of the Colorado Valley Pumping & Irrigation Company and the distribution system of the Yuma Valley Land & Water Company in 1907. The pumping plant and the distribution system were repaired and improved. A new heading with a capacity of 100 cubic feet per second was built for the distribution system early in 1908, and a scoop wheel with a capacity of 80 cubic feet per second was installed at the heading to provide for irrigation at times of low water. The Government purchased the Ives` heading pumps and ditches and the Rollings` ditch in 1908. The Laguna Diversion Dam was completed in 1909 to furnish the diversion for the Yuma Main Canal. In 1941, a turnout was provided at Siphon Drop on the All-American Canal to supply part of the Yuma Project with water diverted by Imperial Dam, and on June 23, 1948, the turnouts on the California side of the Laguna Diversion Dam were sealed. The principal canals were constructed in 1907-1909. Fertile bottom lands ranging from 90 to about 140 feet in elevation make up both divisions of the project. Flax, alfalfa, cotton, vegetables, cereal grains, and citrus, grown on the Reservation Division, are the most profitable crops. Winter and early spring vegetables have become predominantly important. Southern Arizona is an area famous for its intense heat during the summer months. Temperatures average over 100 degrees fahrenheit during July, and may exceed 115 degrees. The winter lows only drop to the mid-twenties. Though the area can be excruciating to humans in the summer, it offers plant life a 365 day growing season. The long season gives southern Arizona farmers an edge over their northern counterparts, year round production. Unfortunately, the same climate offering warm temperatures for crops, does not as generously provide water for them. Annual precipitation only averages 3.5 inches a year.(1) In answer to the desert`s miserly ways, the United States Reclamation Service created the Yuma Project to exploit water from `America`s Nile,` the Colorado River.(2) Reclamation and the Yuma County Water Users` Association hoped to turn the harsh desert into a lush, green oasis of ripening crops, and a Shangri-la for its human inhabitants. Throughout the project`s construction and settlement, Mother Nature refused to conform to men`s ideals. She exacted a price for every success they achieved. Yuma is in the extreme southwest of Arizona, in the extreme southwest of the United States. The Yuma Project occupies some of Yuma County, near the United States-Mexican border, and part of Imperial County, California. The Reservation and Bard Divisions occupy most of the Yuma Indian Reservation in Imperial County while the Valley Division lies in Yuma County. The Yuma Auxiliary Project, authorized later, and often referred to as Yuma Mesa, the Mesa Division, or Unit `B,` connects to the southern tip of the Yuma Project.(3) The history of the Arizona desert began long before the arrival of Europeans on the American continent. The Quechan Indians entered the Yuma Valley between 1000 and 1250 A.D. They established agriculture in the area before the arrival of the Spanish. The Quechans relied on the force of the Colorado River for irrigation and fertilization of their crops. During the flood season in the winter or spring, the Quechans moved away from the river`s shores, to large underground chambers; topped with straw roofs. After the floods, the Quechans returned to the river bottoms and planted their crops in the fertile soil deposited by the Colorado.(4) Following the conquest of Mexico by Hernan Cortes and his conquistadors, Spanish explorers continued north into the Yuma area in the sixteenth century. Two Jesuit Monks, Pedro Nadal and Juan de la Asuncion, entered the Yuma Valley as early as 1538. One of the later European explorers in the Yuma area was a Jesuit Priest, Francisco Garces. He convinced Juan Bautista de Anza the Yuma area offered a launching point over the Colorado to southern California. Anza and Garces led an expedition of thirty-four soldiers in 1773 to Yuma, contacting the Quechan Indians whom the Spanish called Yumas; derived from Spanish for smoke. The Spanish established two missions in the Yuma Valley, Mission Pursima Conception and Mission San Pedro y San Pablo de Bicuner. The missions emphasized `civilization` of the Quechans, who resisted just as emphatically. The conflict resulted in a Quechan massacre of all Spanish males at the missions on July 17, 1781. Francisco Garces lay among those killed.(5) Mexico gained independence from Spain in 1821. Soon after, Anglo-American trappers penetrated Mexican territory above the Gila River, by way of the Gila Trail, in the 1820s; looking for beaver. During the Mexican-American War of 1846-48, American military forces under General Stephen Kearney followed the Gila Trail to Yuma in 1846. Later one of his officers, Lieutenant-Colonel Philip St. George Cooke, led the Mormon Battalion, comprised of volunteers from Utah; along a route south of Kearney`s to California. The United States defeated Mexico in 1848, and annexed approximately half of Mexico`s territory in return for $10 million.(6) After the financial and territorial coup by the United States, disputes arose over land below the Gila River. President James K. Polk sent James Gadsden to negotiate with Mexico for the purchase of the territory in question, plus the Mexican states of Sonora and Baja California, for $15 million. Congress considered the price for all the territory too expensive, and Santa Anna, the President of Mexico, would only sell the small section below the Gila. In 1854 the United States purchased the area south of the Gila River, now called the Gadsden Purchase, for $10 million.(7) The United States formed the Fort Yuma Indian Reservation, California, across the Colorado River from Arizona January 9, 1884, designating it the home for the Quechans. The United States Government divided the Reservation into individual family lots according to the Dawes Severalty Act (General Allotment Act) of 1887.(8) Allotment decreased the amount of land owned by the Native Americans as a group. In accordance with a 1910 amendment to the Dawes Act, each Quechan on the Yuma Indian Reservation received ten acres, and the government opened the remaining land to white settlers.(9) Ownership of much of the land in the Gadsden Purchase became disputed again in the 1890s. The United States and local landholders contested a section known as the `Algodones Grant,` established under the Spanish and Mexican land grants pre-dating the Mexican-American War. In the Treaty of Guadalupe-Hidalgo, ending the war in 1848, the United States agreed to recognize ownership under Spanish land grants. Nevertheless, the U.S. government went to court against the land grant owners in 1893 and 1896, laying claim to the land. In both cases, the United States Court of Private Land Claims affirmed ownership by the land grant holders. The United States appealed the decision, gaining a reversal in 1898 and obtaining title to the land.(10) Shortly after the federal government gained control of the land, private ditch companies formed to irrigate lands in the Yuma Valley. The resulting gravity systems proved unsatisfactory because of silt accumulation in the headings. Squatters who moved into the area, had to deal with inconsistent annual runoff supplying their crops with water. The government returned the Algodones Grant to entry in 1901, and prospective farmers began filing on the best tracts. However floods prevented any consistent farming of the land.(11) In August 1903 President Theodore Roosevelt turned the abandoned Fort Yuma Military Reservation, in Arizona, over to the newly formed Reclamation Service for development of irrigation projects. Subsequent surveys determined the viability of reclaiming the nearby arid land under the Reclamation Act of June 17, 1902 (32 Stat. 388). Potential water users incorporated the Yuma County Water Users` Association November 2, 1903, to contract with Reclamation for building the Yuma Project. Secretary of the Interior Ethan A. Hitchcock authorized the project May 10, 1904.(12) Reclamation purchased the property of the local irrigation and ditch companies and maintained their operation until the project could supply water. The private companies included the Colorado Valley Pumping and Irrigating Company, the Yuma Valley Union Land and Water Company, the Yuma Pumping Irrigation Company, and the Irrigation Land and Improvement Company. The Irrigation Land and Improvement Co. fought Reclamation`s takeover through legal action, eventually ending up in the U.S. Supreme Court. The case may have been settled prior to the scheduled court date in 1908, because it never went before the Court. Reclamation assumed control of the property the same year.(13) Reclamation originally conceived the Yuma Auxiliary Project as a supplement to the Yuma Project in order to irrigating 45,000 acres of farm land on what came to be called Yuma Mesa. With a vision toward expanding irrigation, Reclamation considered extending the project to the mesa even before completion of the diversion works at Laguna Dam. Reclamation divided the Auxiliary Project into four divisions simply named Units A, B, C, and D. Initial surveys of Yuma Mesa began in 1916. Congress authorized the project in an act of January 25, 1917 (39 Stat. 868).(14) The Yuma Project began with Francis L. Sellew as Project Engineer. Project work commenced with construction of Laguna Dam. Reclamation engineers faced the problem of designing a dam to control the Colorado River and divert water to adjoining canals, while preventing silt from entering the canals. Engineers studied dams in other countries to aid in determining the dam design. The investigations resulted in an `Indian Weir,` a style similar to the Okla Weir across the Jumna River in India; with elements from an Egyptian dam across the Nile, downstream from Cairo.(15) Reclamation awarded the contract for dam construction to J.G. White and Company July 6, 1905. White started work on July 19, 1905. Cement delivery for Laguna Dam began as a complicated operation. The company shipped material by railroad to Yuma. At Yuma they either loaded it on a steam boat or into wagons. The rock comprising fill for the dam constantly gave White problems. It came from quarries in the abutments at either end of the dam structure. The rock fractured too much with annoying regularity, often 50 percent of the quarried rock went to waste.(16) In August 1906 White petitioned for relief from the contract because of excessive losses. The contractor`s representatives and a board of Reclamation engineers met at a conference in California. Reclamation refused to release White from the contract, but admitted the construction material did not meet expectations. A supplemental contract emerged from the conference, paying the company compensation for losses and extending the deadline. White & Co. still did not meet the deadline date. Reclamation took over construction of Laguna Dam by force account on January 22, 1907.(17) Reclamation eased the burden of cement delivery to the construction site after they assumed control. Reclamation built a levee on the California side of the Colorado. The Service gained the cooperation of the Southern Pacific Railroad and built a rail line on the levee. After completion of the rail line in March 1908, the railroad delivered supplies directly to the work site on the California side of the dam.(18) To dewater the Laguna Dam site, Reclamation raised the cofferdams on the upstream and downstream sides of the dam site, using waste from the rock quarries. In addition, workers prepared sluiceways to divert water around the dam construction. Fragmentation of the rock forced Reclamation to line the sluiceways with concrete. Reclamation closed the cofferdams on December 11, 1908, and water bypass commenced. Upon closure of the cofferdams, Reclamation laid standard gauge railroad track, on a trestle across the closure, to connect the rock quarries. Work crews dumped loose rock from the trestle as fast as possible to keep the water from washing it away. Large pumps operating between the cofferdam structures evacuated water from the dam site. Reclamation dredged the alluvial deposit under the center of the site to a depth of twelve feet, after pumping out most of the water.(19) Reclamation built three concrete walls for the dam structure along the river bed. Before placement of the walls, laborers drove six inch wood sheet pilings into the bed under the sites for the walls. The pilings protected against seepage, and for the third wall provided a foundation over the soft bottom. The upstream crestwall reached an elevation of 151 feet above sea level. Reclamation located the second wall 57? feet downstream from the first. They put the third 93? feet below the second.(20) Reclamation placed loose rock from the quarries between the walls as fill. Below the downstream wall they constructed an apron of stone forty to fifty feet wide, to protect the dam against any cutback from the river. Reclamation began paving the top of the dam with 2-3? foot thick stones on the Arizona side of the dam. The quarries did not have enough suitable rock to continue this method of pavement, so Reclamation opted for an eighteen inch layer of concrete. Crews placed rock on the upstream side of the crestwall for protection.(21) Stoney type iron gates with rollers comprised the sluicing works for the main canals on the project. Three gates controlled the California sluiceway and one controlled the Arizona side. Pillars, rising forty-one feet above the river bed, supported the gates. In normal operations water entered the sluiceways slowly, allowing silt to drop to the bottom. Only the fairly silt free, top fifteen to eighteen inches of water flowed through. To clean the sluiceways, crews closed the canal control gates, and opened the sluice gates to allow water to flow through faster and wash out the accumulated silt.(22) Mexican-Americans constituted the majority of workers on Laguna Dam. A few Native Americans also labored on the dam. Francis Sellew wrote, `in the cooler months of the year a fair percentage of wandering white men were carried on the rolls.`(23) White workers primarily comprised the skilled labor. Workers proved plentiful from October to June, but in the summer months; when temperatures could reach 115 degrees, maintaining a full work force proved difficult. Reclamation established mess halls and commissaries for the convenience of workers and their families.(24) The Yuma Main Canal left Laguna Dam from the California side. About 1? miles from Laguna Dam, the Yuma Main Canal split into the Yuma Main Canal and the Reservation Main Canal at Indian Heading. The Yuma Main continued southwest through the Reservation Division to the 9.9 foot Siphon Drop Spillway, where Reclamation later built a powerplant. It continued another 3.5 miles to the Colorado River Siphon, and through the siphon under the river. At the town of Yuma, the Yuma Main Canal split into the East and West Main Canals, which continued through the Valley Division; south, and west then south, respectively, to the Mexican border.(25) Construction of three sections of the Yuma Main Canal, by force account, began in 1909 and continued until completion in July 1912. Reclamation divided construction of the section between Indian Heading and the Siphon Drop Spillway into six sections, and contracted out to five companies. Reclamation built the East Main Canal by force account under the supervision of R.M. Priest. Construction started in November 1911 and finished in April 1912. Reclamation started work on the West Main Canal beginning with the first two and one half mile section in January 1912, completing it in May 1912. Canal construction continued in November 1913, and Reclamation finished the West Main Canal to the Mexican border in 1915.(26) Work commenced on the Reservation Main Canal in 1907, and adjacent laterals in 1908. The Mojave and Cocopah Canals emerged from a split of the Reservation Main Canal. The Walapai Canal, constructed from 1908 to 1910, broke off from the Yuma Main Canal at Siphon Drop Powerplant, traveling south to the Ottowa lateral, just north of Winterhaven, California. Reclamation established sixty miles of laterals on the Yuma Indian Reservation to utilize the water from the canals.(27) Reclamation began the Colorado River Siphon, in November 1909, to allow the Yuma Main Canal to cross the Colorado River to supply water to the Valley Division of the project. Reclamation considered the option of a flume over the river, but decided a flume would risk exposure to floods and hinder the river during high water. Engineers chose an inverted siphon, through the sandstone lying fifty feet beneath the Colorado River bed. Reclamation sank the two vertical shafts as concrete `open caissons` on opposite sides of the river, with a fourteen foot diameter, concrete tube connecting the two under the river bed.(28) The sandstone proved porous and fractured, forcing Reclamation to postpone work on February 21, 1911, until they found a more suitable alternative construction method. A consulting board of engineers, consisting of Francis Sellew, Louis Hill, and Silas Woodard, former Division Engineer on the East River Tunnels of the Pennsylvania Railroad; met on April 10, 1911. They decided to use the pneumatic process to finish the siphon. Reclamation rented an air compressor plant from Charles Haskin and Company, a Boston tunnel contractor, because no equipment existed in the west. The equipment arrived in late May 1911 with 26 crewmen experienced in compressed air operations. Work continued smoothly, and the siphon began operation June 29, 1912. The siphon`s entry shaft, on the California side of the Colorado, extends 76 feet deep and 17 feet in diameter. The Arizona side`s exit shaft travels 74 feet deep with a 23 foot diameter. The connecting concrete tube stretches 955 feet between the vertical shafts.(29) Reclamation built a series of levees to protect the river banks against the annual Colorado River floods. The Reservation levee, on the west bank of the Colorado, extended from Lagunato to Araz on the Southern Pacific line; four miles west of Yuma. Reclamation built the levee by force account in 1907-09. The Yuma Valley levees followed the east bank of the river to the Colorado-Gila confluence, then from the confluence to the United States-Mexico border. Contractors constructed fourteen miles of the Yuma Valley levees in 1905-06.(30) Reclamation observed that meandering of the Colorado River frequently changed its location, and threatened permanent facilities on the Yuma Project. The Service recognized levee systems would require almost constant maintenance. They developed an idea to put a railroad on the levees and dump rock riprap directly on threatened sections of the levees from rail cars. The plan would allow quick repairs in emergencies, and eventually proved successful on the Southern Pacific line on the Reservation levee during the flood of 1912. Francis Sellew contacted the Southern Pacific Railroad in 1911 for the possible construction of another railroad system in the Yuma Project area.(31) The Southern Pacific balked at Sellew`s proposal. Although the S.P.`s `Laguna Branch` on the Reservation levee proved profitable during dam construction, profits declined when the line relied on passengers and freight traffic.(32) The railroad debate continued into 1914. Secretary of the Interior Franklin K. Lane approved a railroad constructed and maintained by the Reclamation Service in meetings March 24-26, 1914. The Southern Pacific rejected the Reclamation proposal on March 30, 1914. Lane responded he already approved Reclamation`s construction of a railroad, and concluded his correspondence `with the hope that the Southern Pacific would assist by making connections and rates on the Southern Pacific for the new railroad.`(33) Reclamation budgeted $230,000 for construction of the railroad. Sellew purchased track and equipment for $126,800, including secondhand track from the Arizona Eastern Railroad (part of the Southern Pacific system), and ties from Baltford Construction Company of Portland, Oregon.(34) Reclamation started the Yuma Valley Railroad in April 1914 with grading and other preparatory work for construction. After ironing out some right of way conflicts, Reclamation began railroad construction on May 1, 1914.(35) Wage strikes by workers and exceedingly hot weather only slightly impeded work on the Yuma Valley Railroad. Reclamation completed the railroad in February 1915. The Service improved its railroad yards in August, October, and December 1915, and in April 1916 built a loop at the end of the line for more efficiency. Construction of the loop required Reclamation to move 5000 yards of levee and relay 2200 feet of track. Upon completion, the Yuma Valley line stretched for 23? miles to the Mexican border.(36) Reclamation began preliminary work for the Siphon Drop Powerplant in 1925. Excessive opening bids forced Reclamation to complete the excavation work for the structure by force account. Wet excavation proved necessary because the substructure of the building lay eleven feet below ground water. Reclamation used Wakefield piling of two by twelve inch pine sheets in twenty-two foot lengths to make a cofferdam. Workers accomplished most of the work with an excavator. For the finishing touches, they washed sand into two bays with high pressure water from a two inch hose and a three-quarter inch nozzle. An excavator removed the material from the bays.(37) Charles Olcester, a local contractor, received the modified contract for the construction of the building. He started work in 1926. Olcester added two more siphons to the Siphon Drop Spillway to handle the 1,500 second feet of water needed to operate the powerplant at full capacity. The Siphon Drop Powerplant began operation in 1926. The plant initially supplied electricity to the `B` Lift and the Boundary Pumping Plants.(38) Laguna Dam was an unusual structure for its time because of the design and dimensions. The weir only measured forty-three high, nearly two-thirds of which lay below the river bed. The structure raised the river ten feet. The three corewalls gave the dam a width of over 150 feet. Canals on the Yuma Project totaled 53 miles with 218 miles of laterals.(39) Reclamation and local farmers envisioned Yuma Mesa as a suitable location for growing citrus fruits. John G. Marzel went to southern California to study `the most modern and best practices of irrigation systems in citrus fruit districts.`(40) W.W. Schlecht and S.A. McWilliams also ventured to southern California for further investigations, but determined they needed a full seasons`s worth of data.(41) Reclamation made S.A. McWilliams the Supervising Engineer of the Yuma Auxiliary Project. Yuma Mesa construction commenced September 27, 1920, when the George Brothers Company of Somerton, Arizona began their contract on the supply canal. George Brothers` contract included the earthwork of the Mesa Supply Canal, part of the Unit `B` lateral, and other small laterals. The company completed the contract January 22, 1921. Reclamation graded six miles of Unit `B` road and prepared it for surfacing in 1920 by force account. Work started on the road to the `B` Lift pumping plant January 8, 1921. Reclamation finished five miles of road before reducing the work force in May.(42) Reclamation began the `B` lift pumping plant in February 1921. Concrete placement in the building finished in August, just before the start of the 72 inch diameter force main pipe leading to the top of the mesa. Reclamation virtually finished the force main before the end of the year. Although designed for three pumping units, the building only received one immediately after completion. Reclamation sealed expansion cracks in the force main pipe in 1922 by chiseling out the cracks and filling them with mineral rubber. Workers back filled the pipe after making repairs. Operation of the pumping plant started May 1, 1922.(43) Reclamation estimated they would need approximately twenty miles of pipe for the mesa`s Unit `B` laterals. Reclamation reached an agreement with the Lock Joint Pipe Company to use a type of pipe patented by the company. Inexperience among the workers with the Lock Joint pipe resulted in some inferior pipe laying quality after success with the initial batches. The Project History blamed some of it on ignorance of smaller details in the rush for greater quantities of pipe.(44) Reclamation began making longer sections of pipe in 1922, in an effort to halve the manufacture time. The longer time necessary for the pipe to season proved the downside of the process. Fire destroyed the crushing plant January 15, 1922, partially interfering with progress. Pipe production continued through the problems. J.H. Maxey contracted earthwork for five miles of Unit `B` canals and laterals in 1922 and proceeded with the construction. When completed, the Yuma Auxiliary Project had 3.6 miles of canals and 18 miles of laterals.(45)
Water for the project is diverted from the All-American Canal to the forebay of the Siphon Drop Powerplant on the Yuma Main Canal, then is distributed over the Valley Division and a portion of the Reservation Division. Some Reservation Division lands are served directly from turnouts on the All-American Canal above Siphon Drop. The Yuma Main Canal crosses underneath the Colorado River near Yuma in an inverted siphon to supply the West Main, Central, and East Main Canals of the Valley Division, which flow south and irrigate land to the Mexican border. The Siphon Drop Powerplant on the California side was operated from July 15, 1926, until December 1972, when the plant was shut down. The hydroelectric power generated at the plant was interconnected with the Parker-Davis power system for distribution and sale. Laguna Dam, an original feature of the project, is located on the Colorado River 13 miles northeast of Yuma, Arizona, and about 5 miles downstream from Imperial Dam. The original purpose of this dam was to divert Colorado River water to the project area. Since 1948, irrigation water for the project has been diverted at Imperial Dam. Laguna Dam now serves as a regulating structure for sluicing flows and for downstream toe protection for Imperial Dam. It has a structural height of 43 feet and contains 486,800 cubic yards of material. A system of open drains, supplemented by wells in problem areas, removes excess water from irrigated land in the Yuma Project area. There are approximately 29 miles of open drains in the Reservation Division that discharge into the Colorado River at two locations. Nearly one-half the Reservation Division drainage system has been installed to intercept seepage from the All-American Canal. In the Valley Division, the main drain runs through the central part of the area, terminating at the Boundary Pumping Plant adjacent to the Mexican border. The main drain and its several branches total approximately 56 miles in length. There are 16 drainage wells along the east side of the valley that intercept underground flows from Yuma Mesa and divert seepage from cultivated lands. Eleven of these wells are operated and maintained by the Yuma County Water Users` Association; the remaining five wells are operated by the Bureau of Reclamation. Most of the water pumped from the drainage wells is discharged into the open drain system. A small quantity of Drainage water from wells and isolated open drains is pumped into irrigation canals. The original Boundary Pumping Plant began operating In 1919. In 1953, a more modern outdoor plant was put into operation. This plant has an installed capacity of 245 cubic feet per second using four vertical turbine, electric motor units. The lift is about 12 feet. A portion of the equipment in the original plant has been maintained as a standby plant, including a diesel engine unit which has a capacity of approximately 120 cubic feet per second. The drainage water pumped by the Boundary Pumping Plant is discharged into a canal that flows into Mexico. This water, along with water from other sources, sustains a significant agricultural economy along the east side of the Colorado River in Mexico. The powerplant is located at Siphon Drop on the Yuma Main Canal 3.5 miles upstream of the Colorado River siphon. The plant is no longer in operation, but studies are being made on the possibility of rehabilitating and modernizing it. It had two units, a total capacity of 1,600 kilowatts, and operated under an average head of 15 feet. About 27 miles of transmission lines were used to deliver the power produced. Originally, the Yuma Main Canal extended from the California side of Laguna Dam 10.5 miles to Siphon Drop Powerplant, then southerly 3.5 miles to and under the Colorado River to the Valley Division. In 1941, a turnout was completed in the All-American Canal at Siphon Drop Powerplant to supply part of the Reservation Division and all of the Valley Division with water diverted at Imperial Dam. In addition to the Siphon Drop Powerplant turnout, the Reservation Main, Titsink, Yaqui, and Pontiac turnouts were constructed in the All-American Canal to serve the remainder of the Reservation Division. On June 23, 1948, the outlet works at Laguna Dam were sealed and the reach of the Yuma Main Canal from Laguna Dam to Siphon Drop Powerplant was abandoned. The Yuma Main Canal extension from the All-American Canal Siphon Drop turnout to the Colorado River Siphon is 3.5 miles long, with a capacity of 2,000 cubic feet per second. In addition to the main canals, there are approximately 218 miles of laterals to deliver the water to individual farms. The drainage system includes 127 miles of drains. The Bureau of Reclamation has operated and maintained the distribution and drainage facilities of the Reservation Division since they were constructed. The Yuma County Water Users` Association assumed the operating responsibility from the Bureau of Reclamation for the Valley Division irrigation facilities on July 1, 1951, and for the Yuma Main Canal, the Siphon Drop Powerplant, and the 34.5-kV transmission line from Siphon Drop Powerplant in California to the Boundary Pumping Plant in Arizona on January 1, 1963.
Faron, Louis C. `Indian, American.` Encyclopedia Americana Vol. 15. Danbury, Connecticut: Grolier Inc., 1991, 1-47.
ContactTitle: Area Office Manager
Organization: Yuma Area Office
Address: 7301 Calle Agua Salada
City: Yuma, AZ 85364
Phone: 928 343-8100
ContactTitle: Public Affairs Officer
Organization: Lower Colorado Regional Office
Address: PO Box 61470
City: Boulder City, NV 89006-1470
OwnerTitle: Public Affairs Officer
Organization: Commissioner`s Office
Address: 1849 C Street NW
City: Washington, DC 20240