Verde River – Ditch Irrigation Modernization
Arizona’s Verde River delivers 40% of the surface water for the Phoenix metro area and provides vital aquatic habitat for myriad desert fish and wildlife species. However, like many rivers in the West, the Verde River suffers from extensive water diversion. As a result, during certain times of the year, the river’s flow is inadequate to fully support native fish, wildlife, and recreation.
The Verde Ditch Project installed modern irrigation infrastructure including remote controlled gate actuators that manage the level of water in the irrigation canal so that water levels can be raised and lowered to meet the periodic delivery needs of irrigators without diverting excess water from the river. Prior to the installation of this new infrastructure, water users were required to divert an additional 3 to 5 cubic feet per second from the river to meet the needs of all water users. The completed project helps meet food and water security needs while restoring water to a vital desert ecosystem. The project is expected to facilitate the restoration of over 500 million gallons per year to support fish and wildlife, river recreation, and tourism.
* Project supports voluntary transactions to change, reduce or stop water use – either temporarily or permanently – to protect or restore water for environmental benefit