Vast expanses of the main pond at Agua Caliente Park northeast of Tucson have dried up in the drought — and even 55,000 gallons of well water pumped daily into the spring-fed pond won’t refill it, officials say.
“It’s absolutely as dry as it’s ever been. It’s really heartbreaking,” said Wendy Burroughs, environmental education program manager for Pima County.
The county manages the park, known officially as Roy P. Drachman-Agua Caliente Regional Park. It’s at 12325 East Roger Road.
Burroughs said the main reasons for the loss of water are ongoing drought conditions, loss of spring flow to the pond, evaporation in the heat, and transpiration (giving off of moisture) by palm trees and cattails around the pond.
“The spring essentially stopped running last summer,” she said. “There has been intermittent flow since that time, but it’s still at a very low level.”
That has drastically reduced the pond, which provides important habitat for aquatic wildlife and attracts bird-watchers, walkers and others to what has long been a natural oasis in the desert.
Read more of this story in Thursday's Arizona Daily Star.