We are a completely independent, non-profit research center with nearly 70 years of history in Imperial Valley, California. With over 120 acres of test fields, greenhouses, and offices available, we offer flexible arrangements from simple land lease to full-service project management.
The IV WATR Center is a growing research center in the beginning stages that will focus on irrigation efficiency and innovation. Demonstrating new technologies in real-world situations will give growers the confidence to implement these advanced conservation measures.
Imperial Valley farmers establish a research station
In the late 1940s, Imperial Valley’s farmers established a research center. They worked together to raise enough funds to purchase 160 acres of land, which was then leased to the county and USDA for $1 per year for agricultural research. Much of the Valley’s land was suffering from increasing salinity, and the local growers knew that something had to be done. Not only are the soils highly saline (giving the area its nickname of the Salton Sink), but the irrigation water that is the region’s lifeline brings with it one ton of salt per acre-foot. Like any other region in the West, water is a precious commodity that must be used with increasing efficiency.
IVCRC joins USDA
On November 3, 1951, the Imperial Valley Conservation Research Center opened its doors as a USDA research station. The station’s research on the use of tile drainage to manage soil salinity brought tens of thousands of acres of farmland back into viable production. Over the next 60 years, research on salinity management continued, along with studies of irrigation, pest control, disease resistance and salinity tolerance.
IVCRC is transferred to the Imperial Valley Conservation Research Committee
In 1999, the station was transferred out of the USDA system to the Imperial Valley Conservation Research Committee, a non-profit organization. Once again, the local agriculture community rallied around the research center and worked to ensure that it continued its important work. The committee of local growers, which had existed in an advisory role, shifted to an operations and management role, making the decision to continue the work of the center by offering plots of land for lease for research purposes.