This blog explores the history of Phoenix, Arizona and a little bit of Los Angeles and San Francisco, California

Why you should conserve water if you live in Phoenix, Arizona


Yes, you should conserve water, even if you live in Phoenix, Arizona. The reason is different from what most people have heard, but water conservation really is a good thing. I do it myself, and I recommend for my neighbors. My garden is a xeriscape, shaded by trees, with no grass.

If you've lived in Phoenix for a few years, you know that the valley gets not only a fair amount of rain, both in winter and summer, and it gets flooding from the uplifted areas north, and especially northeast of it. In fact, so much water has flowed through the valley over the years that the main concern that Phoenix historically has had to face was flooding. And thankfully the Maricopa County Engineers have mostly fixed that, so much so that most people who live in the valley are unaware of the gigantic flood control projects everywhere. My favorite is the diversion channel which runs north of the Arizona Canal, and was completed in 1994. It's so gigantic that you could stand there throwing football stadiums into it all day, and most people who goes past it all of the time have no idea it's even there. Out in the west valley, where I am, it's the Thunderbird Paseo.

Unlike other desert cities, like Las Vegas or Los Angeles, the city of Phoenix sits in a basin where flood waters have poured in for the past ten thousand years (since the last ice age). There's no need for Phoenix to bring water in with aqueducts, from miles away. The water is right there. The Salt River was channeled into canals in the days of the Hohokams, hundreds of years ago, and has been channeled since 1883 by Phoenix pioneers. So there's no doubt about it, there's plenty of water.

But waitaminute, that doesn't mean that Phoenicians should waste it. Yes, there's plenty of water, but that water has to be stored, and delivered. That means the use of electricity, and money - lots of it. But conserving power, or money, doesn't seem to be as attractive a thought to people as conserving water. So I conserve water (I live in Glendale) and it saves me money, and saves the infrastructure that surrounds me.

Channeling the water that has historically flowed right through the valley has turned Phoenix from a desert to an oasis. And using it wisely will allow the city to grow, and the people who share that city to flourish.

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