Palo Verde Valley

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Palo Verde Valley
Viewing north facing the Big Maria Mountains

The Palo Verde Valley of the Lower Colorado River is a valley located in the eastern border of Southern California, next to the border with Arizona, United States.[1] It is located on the Colorado Desert within the Sonoran Desert south of the Parker Valley. The northern two-thirds is in Riverside County with the southern portion in Imperial County. La Paz County is to the east of the Colorado River.

The region is the ancestral home of several Native American tribes: the Quechan, the Chemehuevi and Matxalycadom or Halchidhoma,[2][3] some who have Indian reservations in California and Arizona along the Colorado and Gila Rivers today.


The Palo Verde Valley is part of the Sonoran Desert and is approximately 25 mi (40 km) south of the Mojave Desert. The Big Maria Mountains is north of the valley, and the Colorado River forms the valley's boundaries east and south. Other mountains nearby are the McCoy Mountains to the west (north in Interstate 10), the Chocolate Mountains in the south, and the Sawtooth Mountains in the east.


Agriculture is the valley's most important industry since indigenous farming. Crops include melons, alfalfa, cotton and vegetables.[4] The Palo Verde Irrigation District, with water sourced from the Palo Verde Diversion Dam, controls the canal system for these fields.

The city of Blythe is in the center of the Palo Verde Valley and is the only incorporated community. Other communities includes Mesa Verde, Ripley, and Palo Verde. Cibola is in the southern portion of the valley.

In Blythe, the Palo Verde Hospital is the only medical facility in the valley.

Water transfers to MWD[edit]

In a 2005 agreement, Metropolitan Water District of Southern California (MWD) negotiated with Palo Verde Irrigation District (PVID) in Blythe to fallow, or idle, farm land for 35 years. The deal will transfer water that would have been used for farming in the area of Blythe, Ripley and Palo Verde to MWD.

According to a 1990 pilot study, water diversions and fallowed farm land reduced farming employment. The MWD provided $6 million in a development fund to reimburse the community for losses caused by shifting water to urban areas.[5]

California currently uses more than its allotted share of water from the Colorado River. The transfer agreement also seeks to address over-use of river water. It is partly designed to reduce overall diversions from the river.


Interstate 10 goes through the Palo Verde Valley in an east-west direction across Blythe. US Route 95 goes through the northeastern part of the Valley. California State Route 78's northern terminus is near the valley's western edge from Interstate 10.

The Blythe Airport is west of the valley.[6]

Rail transportation by the Arizona and California Railroad served the valley until 2007.

See also[edit]


  1. ^ "Blythe Area Chamber of Commerce - Visitor's Guide". Retrieved 2014-11-13. 
  2. ^ Underwood, Jackson (2005). "Ethnohistoric and Ethnographic Context For The North Baja Pipeline" (PDF). Proceedings of the Society for California Archaeology 18. Retrieved 2014-11-13. 
  3. ^ Roth, George (1977). "The Calloway Affair of 1880: Chemehuevi Adaptation and Chemehuevi-Mohave Relations". Journal of California Anthropology 4 (2). 
  4. ^ Palo Verde Historical Museum and Society (2005). Blythe and the Palo Verde Valley. Arcadia Publishing. ISBN 978-0-7385-3072-7. 
  5. ^ * Bureau of Reclamation PDF file on water situation.
  6. ^

External links[edit]

Coordinates: 33°21′27″N 114°42′32″W / 33.35750°N 114.70889°W / 33.35750; -114.70889