Water Development on the Gila River: The Construction of Coolidge Dam

Author(s): David M. Introcaso

Year: 1987


Because settlement and sustained growth in the arid West has been impossible without an adequate water supply, the history of the region requires an understanding of water resource development. In central Arizona, water development on the Gila River, the state's principle river, was attained only after a long period of conflict. Historically, the Gila River had been used by the Pima Indian community. This tribe had successfully dwelled for many centuries as an agrarian society by diverting the natural flow of the river.The Pima community became quickly threatened, however, with the incursion of anglo settlers beginning in the middle of the nineteenth century. By establishing river diversion works upstream from the tribal community, American settlers were able to divert the Gila before it reached tribal lands. Combined with persistent drought and other negative influences introduced by American pioneers, the Gila River tribal community was compromised and subsequently degenerated for sixty years. Despite the creation of the Gila River Reservation for the Pimas, the assignment of federal agents to manage the reservation and various studies and projects to provide sufficient water to the reservation, a substantive remedy was not reached until the passage of federal legislation in 1924.

This is an incomplete report. The "List of Illustrations" pages 84-89 are not included.

Cite this Record

Water Development on the Gila River: The Construction of Coolidge Dam. David M. Introcaso. 1987 ( tDAR id: 413689) ; doi:10.6067/XCV8413689

This Resource is Part of the Following Collections

Spatial Coverage

min long: -110.641; min lat: 33.13 ; max long: -110.462; max lat: 33.235 ;

Individual & Institutional Roles

Contact(s): Salt River Project Cultural Resource Manager

Repository(s): Salt River Project

Record Identifiers

SRP Library Call No.(s): E99.C66I58 1987

SRP Library Barcode No.(s): 00090630

File Information

  Name Size Creation Date Date Uploaded Access
1987_WaterDevelopment_OCR_PDFA.pdf 47.15mb May 1, 1987 Sep 2, 2016 10:30:02 AM Confidential
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Contact(s): Salt River Project Cultural Resource Manager