Death of Arizona’s largest lake affects San Carlos Apache Tribe – In depth fact and history report

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 Water research community sadden by their loss.

An Apache community near San Carlos Lake, Arizona, had suffered from widespread poverty, malnutrition, and starvation after the diversion of their necessary water sources. Including sources from the Gila River, Florence-Casa Grande and Pima Canals, this tribe was subject to natural fluctuations in water levels, but after the rerouting of waterways by Euro-Americans in the 18th and 19th century, they started to suffer. The United States began initiatives in the early 20th century to remedy these issues, including the construction of the Coolidge Dam and the passing of the San Carlos Apache Tribe Water Rights Settlement Act of 1992. Read more about it here:

Farmers cut off from water, must use pricier sources

Article courtesy of Associated Press | January 3, 2010 | Shared as educational material only

As a result of water reserving by the San Carlos Irrigation Project, water levels in Pinal County and the Gila River Reservation have dropped. This threatens the fish population in nearly all nearby aquatic ecosystems. Solutions like relocation are too risky given issues of disease and invasive species, so the irrigation district remains hopeful for a rain-filled winter storm or the rerouting of water from other sources.

To save fish, officials halt water releases

Article courtesy of Shaun McKinnon | January 2, 2010 | The Arizona Republic | Shared as educational material only

As a result of critically low water levels exacerbated by drought-like conditions, agriculture and fishing in Pinal County have been put in danger. History of massive fish kill from the drying of the San Carlos Lake worries officials and has led many farmers to the rerouting of other water sources, mainly to protect their economic livelihood. Relocation is too risky to be plausible, but many are hopeful and have faith in the San Carlos Lake as a strong fishery in the long-term.

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Babbitt pledges $300,000 to help San Carlos Lake:

Article courtesy of Associated Press | Aug. 07, 1997 | Shared as educational material only

Interior Secretary Bruce Babbitt has agreed to contribute $300,000 to fund substitute water aimed at refilling the San Carlos Lake. This water will help to avoid the drying of the lake, which would very likely give rise to catastrophic results, in the face of shrinking water levels. While this funding only remains a start for the refilling of the San Carlos Lake, it will certainly help to alleviate imminent pressures.

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