Exploring the history of Phoenix, Arizona, just for fun. Advertising-free, supported by my patrons on Patreon. Thank you!

Could people live in Phoenix, Arizona after technology collapses?


As someone who loves to use his imagination, I like to imagine what Phoenix would be like in some dystopian future, with the collapse of technology. Let's time-travel into a kind of scary future!

So the first question would be about water. Would water need to be brought in from hundreds of miles away? Of course not, water flows through Phoenix, and has for thousands of years.

Since most people have no idea how Phoenix works, it's considered a place where people could only live if water arrived from hundreds of miles away. But that's simply not true. People were living in the Phoenix valley long before any kind of "high tech" stuff was around. They were called the Hohokams, and they lived in a very primitive way. They didn't even have iron, they used stone tools.

The loss of electricity, and pumping stations, wouldn't dry up Phoenix. There would still be a lot of water right there. The water that Phoenix uses doesn't come from hundreds of miles away, it's right there. The water that flows down from northern Arizona goes right through the valley. It's a floodplain, and all you have to do is to stop the water, store it and channel it. The Hohokams did it.

So there would be plenty of water. But that's just part of the equation. The next thing is damming and channeling the water. The Hohokam people dug canals with stone tools. Speaking for myself, I doubt whether my weak lower back would allow me to be of much help there, but for people with muscle it's doable.

And then it starts to get really difficult. Because the people who lived there, like the Pima people today, would have most probably been genetically predisposed to survive in those type of harsh conditions. They had the "thrifty gene" (you can Google that if you want to) which meant that their bodies could survive on very few calories. My European body would definitely starve to death long before a Hohokam, or Pima, body. And my light colored skin and eyes would give me no protection from the sun.

So, the collapse of technology would be fatal to people like me, but certainly not to everyone. The people who survive would have to be as tough as nails, very strong, and with a strong community spirit. It's been done before.

Image at the top of this post: The Hohokam village of Pueblo Grande, part of which has been preserved, at 44th Street and Washington, Phoenix, Arizona. You're looking southeast towards where Tempe is now.

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