It’s been a long time since the Santa Cruz River ran and even when it did it only ran in intermittent sections along its long desert traverse. But listen, it did run, not just run off from rainfall or treated sewage water, but true river water. And it was an area that supported native vegetation and critters, not to mention human settlements all up and down the river. Water is life and and life is drawn to it. On the Arizona side of the river alone you can see the spread of humans and their needs, so I don’t think you need to be a hydrologist to figure out where the river went.
And I don’t think you need to be a hydrologist to see where the Suphur Springs Valley, the San Pedro River Valley and the San Simon Valley are headed.
A couple notes: The top right photo is of the Santa Cruz River at 22nd Street. That’s the city jail in the background. The West Branch ran through that area. The other photos are of center fire pivots, in case you forget what a pivot looks like irrigating a field. Pivots can pump different amounts of water depending the wells attached, but take one that can pump over 2,000 gallons a minute. That pivot will run all day long and 8 to 9 months non stop and there are over 300 center fire pivots in the Sulphur Springs Valley. That’s some scary math.
The word on the street is that Tucson Water would like introduce reclaimed water to the river course where it runs through and near downtown Tucson. It has the potential to be quite an attractive river park with native vegetation (better be) and running water. A real tourist attraction. I think it is fair to say that it would be a reenactment of what we lost.