This blog is about the story of my family here in America. We arrived in the 1630s as Puritans, and became the common folk of the New World.

Water in the northwest valley

I grew up in Minnesota, so to me a "river" is something with water in it. But if you live in the Phoenix, Arizona, area, like I do, you know that a "river" just means a dried-up bed, except in times of flooding. And if you notice them at all, you notice the signs as you cross a bridge. There are a lot of bridges in the northwest valley, and when it's raining, you can see the rivers.

The largest river in the northwest valley is The Agua Fria (which is Spanish for Cold Water). It flows from the Lake Pleasant area south to the Salt River. When not in flood, it really isn't a river, it's just a floodplain. In fact, if you have ever wondered why there are so few houses just west of the 101 freeway, and the property is so inexpensive, that's why. Elsewhere in the valley floodplains have been controlled, but not the Agua Fria. Not yet.

Feeding into the Agua Fria, from slightly east, is New River. Again, it's just a floodplain, although much smaller than the Agua Fria. I've been crossing over New River ever since I moved to Glendale. It always seems to me that it will eventually need a new name!

If you live in Peoria, or Glendale, the water you use comes from the Salt River, not the Agua Fria. Attempts to divert water, for farming, from the Agua Fria River failed decades ago. But water flows, as evidenced by the name of the mountain range to the west, the White Tanks. "Tanks" is an old-fashioned term for a place that stores water naturally, which is what the people who lived there in prehistory found.
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