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Where is Imperial Valley?

by Dead Soul  |  10 years, 7 month(s) ago

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Where is Imperial Valley?

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  1. Ammad Ghauri
    The Imperial Valley is a region of southeastern California (USA) located, in part, between the Colorado River and the Salton Sea, which is California's largest saltwater lake. Major population centers are Brawley, Calexico and El Centro which is the county seat. According to a 2007 US Census estimate there are 161,867 residents in the Imperial Valley. Locally, the terms "Imperial Valley" and "Imperial County" are used synonymously. Other regions in the vicinity of the Imperial Valley include the Coachella Valley and the Mexicali Valley (Baja California, Mexico), both of which lie within the Salton Sea watershed. In Mexico, this area of the Baja California peninsula is referred to as the Valle de Mexicali. Over the mountains to the west lies San Diego, California, and to the east beyond the Colorado River is southwestern Arizona. Although this region is a desert, with high temperatures and low average rainfall of three inches (seventy-five mm) per year, the economy is heavily based on agriculture due to the availability of irrigation water, which is supplied wholly from the Colorado River via the All-American Canal. Spanish explorer Melchior Díaz was one of the first Europeans to visit the area in 1540, and probably sent at least scouting parties into the valley proper. Three centuries later, the northern half of the valley was annexed by the U.S., while the southern half remained under Mexican rule. Small scale settlement in natural acquifer areas occurred in the early 1800s (the present-day site of Mexicali), but most permanent settlement (Anglo Americans in the U.S. side, Mexicans in the other side) was after 1900. A vast system of canals, check dams, and pipelines carry the water all over the valley, a system which forms the Imperial Irrigation District, or IID. The water distribution system includes over 1,400 miles (2,300 km) of canal and with 1,100 miles (1,800 km) of pipeline. The number of canal and pipeline branches number roughly over a hundred. Imported water and a long growing season allow two crop cycles each year, and the Imperial Valley is a major source of winter fruits and vegetables, cotton, and grain for U.S. and international markets. Alfalfa is another major crop produced in the Imperial Valley. The agricultural lands are served by a constructed agricultural drain system, which conveys surface runoff and subsurface drainage from fields to the Salton Sea, which is a designated repository for agricultural runoff. A secondary industry of the Imperial Valley region is tourism. Many visitors come to the area to visit the Salton Sea (California's largest inland lake, which serves as a dumpout point for the overflow and drainage from the IID canal system and ditch drainage) and the Algodones Dunes. The New River flows from the border city of Mexicali northward to the Salton Sea. Most of the Imperial Valley is in fact below sea level, including all but one of its major population centers. Accordingly a lot of dust and other airborne particulates stay trapped in the valleys atmosphere. The dust, pesticides, and "smog" from vehicles and burning fields causes an increased risk of asthma in the local residents. Commonly, winds blow from the western mountains; especially during the winter. The Imperial and Mexicali Valleys share a common international bond of both American and Hispanic cultures. On the U.S. side, the majority of residents are of Mexican American or Latino heritage, while the Mexican side was greatly influenced by American culture by the U.S. for many decades. The entire valley has multi-racial representation of Africans, Europeans, east and south Asians, and Native Americans. Imperial Valley is crossed by Interstate 8, and State Routes 7, 78, 86, 98, 111 and 115, and Mexican federal highways 2 and 5 with access to border entry ports to the U.S. side. Due to its desert environment and proximity to Los Angeles, California, movies are sometimes filmed in the sand dunes outside the agricultural portions of the Imperial Valley. These have included Return of the Jedi, Stargate, The Scorpion King, and Into the Wild. Additionally, portions of the 2005 film Jarhead were filmed here because of its similarity to the desert terrain of Iraq. Mountains that were visible in the background during filming were digitally removed during postproduction. Imperial Valley has become a "hot bed" of renewable energy projects, both solar and geothermal. This is driven in part by California's mandate to generate 20% of its power from renewable sources by the end of 2010, the valleys excellent sun resources, the high unemployment, its proximity to large population centers on the coast, and large tracts of otherwise unusable desert land. Much of the land suitable for green energy is owned by the federal government (Bureau of Land Management). As of April 2008, the BLM has received 163 applications to build renewable energy projects on 1.6 million acres in California, "almost all of them are planned for the Imperial Valley and the desert region north of the valley." Stirling Energy is currently building one of the world's largest solar thermal plants, 10 square miles with 38,000 "sun catchers," it will power up to 600,000 once it is fully operational by around 2015. CalEnergy currently runs a geothermal plant that generates enough power for 300,000 homes and could tap into more for up to 2.5 million homes.

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