This page features imagery of the Gila River in Arizona.
Flowing through New Mexico and Arizona, the 649-mile Gila River is a tributary to the Colorado River, though today only a small fraction of its water makes it that far.
Agriculture and an influx of people to the Gila’s 60,000-square-mile watershed has led to large diversions on the river and its tributaries, but a recent diversion proposal in New Mexico was rejected.
The Gila begins in the mountains of southwest New Mexico, in the nation’s first federal wilderness area. Its watershed includes the Phoenix and Tucson metropolitan areas, where there are not only five million residents but also irrigated farms growing alfalfa, cotton, and more.
By the time the Gila meets the Colorado River at Yuma, Arizona, its flow is just a fraction of its historic volume.
- Jim Robbins and Ted Wood, “Once a Rich Desert River, the Gila Struggles to Keep Flowing,” Yale Environment 360, July 8, 2021.
- Kendra Chamberlain, “ISC mulls water projects after diversion project scrapped,” NM Political Report, August 11, 2020.
|Date||2020 and 2021|
|Location||Gila River, Arizona (map)|
|Credit||Ted Wood/The Water Desk|
|Rights||Free to reuse under Creative Commons license.|
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