Their descendants, some of whom still reside along the Salt and Gila rivers, are a part of a living history that is still celebrated centuries after Phoenix eventually emerged as the fifth-largest city in the U.S., in part thanks to the Huhugam’s creation of North America’s largest irrigation system at the time.
“These waterways not only provided water for as many as 50,000 people at one point in time, but also laid the groundwork for SRP’s canal system, which follows many of the same paths today,” says Patty Likens, a spokesperson for SRP. “Today, SRP and residents of the Valley can thank Indigenous people for the success of a water system that serves one of the nation’s largest metro areas.”
The Salt River Project supervises 131 out of the estimated 180 miles of active canals in Phoenix today, which are connected to the SRP’s Salt and Verde River watersheds. The