Exporting the Colorado River to Asia, Through Hay
As the West suffers long-term drought, experts look for ways to save water while still supporting local farmers.
In July in Yuma County, Arizona, Dave Sharp's alfalfa crops, like every other living thing in the 105°F (40°C), dry desert heat, get thirsty.
All that keeps them alive, and indeed keeps these fields and the hundreds of thousands of acres surrounding them in Yuma County from going fallow, is the Colorado River, diverted one last time through the Yuma Project before flowing across the border into Mexico.
The same can be said of California's Imperial Valley, across the river and about 60 miles (97 kilometers) to the west, which was essentially uninhabitable before the Imperial Canal first drew Colorado River water there in 1901, and then the All-American Canal brought more in 1940.
These complex irrigation systems, through an even