Historical Waterways Across The Southwest Designed to Sustain Life in the Desert

Every day, local Phoenicians walk, bike, and run along the city's historic canals.

But where did these Canals come from? How did they get here?

Phoenix Canal System
Many of our canals are the same waterways built by the Hohokam, the original Desert Dwellers. The Hohokam were ancient farming peoples who inhabited this area centuries ago. They built the most advanced waterways in the new world, and they provided water for up to 50,000 people. There is no explanation for why the canals were abandoned around 700 years ago, but one theory is that they ran dry when the region faced a difficult drought.

These canals remained in place and came back into use as western settlers moved into the region. These settlers faced a tough drought in 1901, which caused agriculture to sputter and many people left the area. The ones that remained recognized water conservation as an important factor to their survival, and they lobbied the government to pass the National Reclamation Act of 1902.

This act made the funds available to construct Roosevelt Dam, but at a price. The Salt River Valley Water Users Association (SRVWUA) had to pledge over 200,000 acres of their land as collateral to the federal government if they failed to repay the loan intended to construct the dam. Once Roosevelt Dam was completed, the SRVWUA went on to improve canals throughout the region, many of those canals are still operated by Salt River Project today.  

Phoenix Canal System
How Can We Help?

As time has gone on, we are still facing some of the same challenges from 120 years ago. Water conservation is as important as ever with a growing population and rising temperatures.

"When the well is DRY we know the worth of WATER"


This historical canal system that we use every day, built by our original Desert Dwellers, serves as a reminder of the importance of water sustainability for our state.


Desert Dweller Co. is a local Arizona lifestyle goods and retail brand that is here to help. When you purchase an eco-conscious product from us, we donate 10% to providing sustainable drinking water solutions for local communities in need. 

Together we create sustainable solutions for our home.
We are here to Dwell.
Desert Dweller Co. Logo
Arizona historic canal photos credited to the City of Phoenix.