This blog explores the history of Phoenix, Arizona and a little bit of Los Angeles and San Francisco, California. This blog is not supported by advertising, it's supported by the generosity of my patrons on Patreon. Thank you!

Where the water in Phoenix, Arizona comes from


If you live in the Phoenix area, like I do, and you take a shower, or turn on the water faucet in the kitchen, you really don't need to think about where the water comes from. My water bill comes from the City of Glendale, and as long as I pay it every month, I have water.

Of course, Phoenix is in a desert, and it does cause people to think about water, above and beyond the cost of it every month. And, as usual, the less people know about something, the more outspoken they seem to be. I'll tell you what I've been listening to, over and over.

Many people think that the water for Phoenix comes from some mysterious place hundreds of miles away. They may have heard of the Central Arizona Project, or even the Hoover Dam. And, to be fair, a small percentage of water is now being supplied by CAP, which takes water from the Colorado River. But that water didn't arrive until the 1980s. Of course, people know that Phoenix had water before the 1980s, so maybe they're thinking of the Hoover Dam, which was completed in 1935. But then, of course, Phoenix had water way before 1935.

Luckily, it's easy to see where the water comes from. If you live in east valley, like Scottsdale, or the Salt River Pima Indian Community, you can just look northeast towards the mountains. That's where the Salt and the Verde Rivers are. If you've traveled up there you see that there are some pretty darn big mountains that get snow every year, and rain, and drain down into the Salt River. The Salt and Verde Rivers are then channeled through canals, and the water is used from everything to irrigating crops to providing water for your shower.

Water from the Salt River has been supplying water to Phoenix since the 1860s. The water didn't come from miles and miles away, it flowed right through the valley, and it still does.

Pictured above: The Arizona Canal at the old Crosscut Canal. The Arizona Canal is still there, and that tiny bridge is now Arcadia Drive (48th Street), just north of Indian School Road. The old Crosscut Canal was abandoned when the new one, which is near 64th Street, was built in 1913.


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