|Yuma Medjool Date Festival 2014|
I've driven through Yuma at least twice. All I remember seeing there was acres and acres of motorhomes driven there by snowbirds from up North. Other than that, well, there was the movie 3:10 to Yuma and the Yuma Proving Grounds. But dates? It all looked like desert to me.
Yuma is right at the border with California and Mexico and at the intersection of the Colorado River and Interstate Highway 8.
A hundred years ago some enterprising souls figured out that all they needed was to divert some of the water from the Colorado River and they could grow big crops. Most irrigation projects involved dams and canals but this one, this one is a real oddball. They dug a tunnel under the river. This video does a pretty good job of explaining the project.
The population in Arizona has been growing which is putting more strain on their water supply. Now they are experimenting with paying farmers not to grow crops in order to free up water for other uses, like drinking.