Capturing the Moment — Tucson Basin   3 comments

Tucson Basin — Image by kenne

The Tucson groundwater recharge basin is located west of Tucson, which uses the natural basin located between two north-south mountain ranges on the Hohokam Indian Reservation. Most of the water used in the Tucson area comes from the ground and is now recharged by water from the Colorado River.

West of Tucson, in the Central Avra Valley’s natural basin, 11 recharge basins have been dug into the sandy ground. On any given day, at least some of them will be sparkling with deep blue water. Tucson sits atop an enormous reserve of groundwater, so the water in these basins flows down to “recharge” the underground aquifer. However, area water needs consume more than the annual rainfall provides to recharge the basin. The city turned to the Colorado River several hundred miles away in its search for more water. For $4 billion, Tucson helped build the Central Arizona Canal in 1973, connecting the river to Phoenix, Tucson, and other cities.

The Colorado River water flows into the basins and trickles down through the porous subsurface, mixing with the native groundwater before pumps delivered the hybrid water into homes. This way, the corrosive river water is filtered and diluted with the existing groundwater, making it palatable with Tucson residents’ standards. 

The Hohokam people settled here in the Central Avra Valley of the Sonoran Desert because of the many rivers crossing through the basin. In the mid-1850s, the entire valley was a forest of mesquite trees, with cottonwoods, willows, and walnuts along the major streams. Much of the area was marshy, and malaria was a major problem for the original Fort Lowell along the Santa Cruz River. Today these rivers run dry but continue to flow underground. Without other water sources to help recharge the natural basin, the water level declines in riparian areas will change the ecology and cut the quality of the habitat provided by phreatophytic vegetation. Much work and conservation are needed to ensure the people and vegetation of the Sonoran Desert have the necessary water to maintain the water level. Otherwise, declines in riparian areas can change nature and cut the quality of the habitat provided by phreatophytic vegetation. With the continued loss of riparian habitat in the Tucson Basin, preservation of riparian habitat becomes increasingly critical. Water is an enormous benefactor to life in the Tucson Water Basin and the rest of the world. As inhabitants of this great desert, we must realize the importance of living in true harmony with the desert.

When you arise in the morning,
give thanks for the morning light,
give thanks for your nourishment 
and the joy of living

If you see no reason for giving thanks,
the fault lies in yourself.

— kenne

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3 responses to “Capturing the Moment — Tucson Basin

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  1. Hmmm, I think they have such good luck with the water because that picture may be a phallus symbol. What do you think?


  2. Reblogged this on Becoming is Superior to Being and commented:

    World Water Day, which takes place on March 22 every year, was created by the United Nations in 1993 in order to raise awareness about the world’s water crisis and what can be done to tackle it. It offers a great opportunity to think about what water means in your life and to contribute to a global conversation. If you’re fortunate, you live in a country where you don’t have to consider whether water is both available and safe to use. To honor this World Water Day I’m reblogging this post from May 22, 2011. — kenne


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