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A Dry Tucson Riverbed May Flow Once More

By Stina Sieg
Published: Tuesday, November 8, 2016 - 8:03am
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A dry riverbed that winds through downtown Tucson might flow with water once more. The city’s water department is looking at sending heavily treated wastewater down the Santa Cruz River.

Since the 1940s, the riverbed has only flowed when it rains, because of groundwater pumping. Now, Tucson Water is proposing pumping treated wastewater uphill from a sewage plant and letting it then run through the city’s core.

Tucson Water spokesman Fernando Molina said this would probably resultin only about a 10-foot ribbon of water, but this small flow would serve many functions, including helping his department use excess recycled water that’s available to them and sparking plant and animal life along the riverbed.

“It’s not just an engineering project for us – which we, as a water development might see – but we have all these other benefits that really provide a much broader benefit to the community,” Molina said. “That’s what makes it a really exciting project for us.”

He said the proposed project is 18 months to two years out.