Editorial: Gila River finally flowing

Photo By Mike Bibb: The Gila River flows at the Gila River Diversion Dam.

Column By Mike Bibb

After an extended dry spell and an equally dry Gila River, recent rains in the area have finally contributed enough water to notice a flowing river meandering across Graham County.

Somewhat a rarity the past several years.

Following this weekend’s storms, I ventured out to the Gila River Diversion Dam in Sanchez, Arizona, a rural farming area about 10 miles northeast of Safford. 

The little dam was constructed across the river many years ago to divert river water into a canal to be used for irrigation purposes.  Local farmers also contribute and pump groundwater into the canal when river flow is insufficient to meet irrigation needs.

Photo By Mike Bibb: Recent heavy rains have increased the flow of the Gila River, shown here at the Gila River Diversion Dam.

Usually, by the time Gila River water reaches Sanchez and the Safford area, rains in New Mexico have contributed substantially.  The San Francisco River – a tributary of the Gila River – flows down from the Luna, New Mexico vicinity, through Clifton, to link up with the Gila.

The headwaters of the Gila originate in the Gila Wilderness, also in New Mexico.

Photo By Mike Bibb: The Gila River was flowing well after recent rains.

The fickle nature of annual monsoon seasons always presents elevated expectations, often followed by disappointing results.

However, nature does what nature does and there doesn’t seem to be too much we can do about it.

Except rejoice – or complain!