August 26, 2021

An Unnatural River

Treated effluent and recycled water flowing into the lower Santa Cruz River fosters abundant native vegetation and wildlife, and brings recreational and economic opportunities.
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Two wastewater treatment facilities in Tucson feed treated effluent to the Santa Cruz River fostering abundant native vegetation and wildlife along with new recreational and economic opportunities. One hundred percent of the water flow in the lower Santa Cruz comes from recycled water during non-rainy times. Researchers at the University of Arizona sought to discover how varied water use in the city impacted water flows and how those flows impacted the diversity of aquatic insects in the river. What they discovered revealed a great deal about the health of the river and the growing number of species who call it home.

To find out more about research projects being conducted at the University of Arizona’s School of Natural Resources and the Environment, visit snre.arizona.edu.

Producer/Editor: Mitch Riley
Videographer: Jordan Chin
Aerial Photography: Bryan Nelson, Michael McKisson
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