The Importance of Yuma’s Agricultural Water in the Colorado River Basin

A prolonged drought in the West is making the fate of the Colorado River less certain. As a result, agriculture is at risk. Agricultural water is extremely important to the Yuma growing region, the Winter Lettuce capital of North America. Between the months of November and April, 90% of the U.S. and Canada’s leafy greens and other vegetables come from Yuma area.

Yuma’s agricultural industry recently put together a webpage and video to illustrate what could happen if the Yuma area does not get its water allocations from the Colorado River. Yuma enjoys resources – water, soil, climate, labor, and infrastructure – that allow for the efficient production of the Nation’s food supply. Reduced water supplies for Yuma will mean less healthy foods available for consumers.  Approximately 170 million servings of lettuce are produced in the Yuma area each day from November to April.

Generations of farmers have built the most efficient and productive agricultural ecosystem in Yuma, Arizona. Crop per drop (how much food is produced per acre foot of water): Yuma is about 75% more efficient than the rest of the Colorado River Basin. Yuma farmers conserve water by leveling fields, using the precise amount of water needed for each crop and tracking every gallon of water used. Yuma area growers are feeding more people with less resources and continually look for ways to become more efficient.

“Yuma is about 75% more efficient than the rest of the Colorado Basin.  If you cut water from Yuma, society will be giving up more than if you make cuts elsewhere. . . .” says Dr. George Frisvold, an agricultural economist with the University of Arizona.

About Yuma County Agricultural Water Coalition:

A coalition of five irrigation districts and one water users association operating and delivering water in Yuma County, Arizona and one water district operating and delivering water in Bard, California. All members have entitlements to the Colorado River. Learn more at https://agwateryuma.com/.


About Yuma Fresh:

Yuma Fresh Vegetable Association protects, connects, and promotes the Yuma farming community. Yuma fresh works to solve issues for farming community, connects people through networking and education events and promotes the contributions of Yuma agriculture. Learn more at https://yumafreshveg.com/.

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