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IID: Marking 100 years since water's arrival

June 19, 2001|By KELLY GRANT, Staff Writer

When water first came to the Imperial Valley through canals from the Colorado River, the event was marked simply.

"It's arrival in Imperial was not the occasion of any special celebration …" Otis B. Tout writes in his 1931 book "The First Thirty Years."

"… only half a dozen or so were on hand to toss their hats into the air," Tout writes.

Now, 100 years later to the day, a much bigger celebration is planned.

The Imperial Irrigation District and the Comisión para la Preservación Cultural de Mexicali y su Valle will stage a binational centennial celebration of bringing water into the two valleys Wednesday.

The event will begin at 4:30 at Sharp's Heading, one mile south of the new port of entry in Mexicali. There will be music, dancers, a photographic exhibit and commemorative inauguration.

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The celebration will cross the border and resume at Pioneers' Museum at 385 E. Aten Road in Imperial.

The museum will open at 6 p.m. Dinner will be served at 6:30, followed by a commemoration program at 7:30. The first phase of IID's exhibit at the museum will be unveiled.

The Imperial and Mexicali valleys are partners in the celebration as they were partners in bringing water to the area.

The original main canal from the Colorado River to the Imperial Valley was almost entirely on the Mexican side of the border. While the cut into the Colorado was in the United States, the canal crossed into Mexico to avoid the sand dunes in southeastern Imperial County.

The canal turned back toward the United States at Sharp's Heading, just east of Calexico, from where it then flowed north into Imperial Valley.

Staff Writer Kelly Grant can be reached at 337-3441.

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