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El Rio Watercourse Master Plan and Area Drainage Master Plan

Flood management solutions that conserve the natural environment and accommodate future growth

Phoenix, Arizona

A master plan provides a framework for enhancing and preserving the river, and a path for development that ensures public safety and flood control strategies are environmentally sensitive, while staying responsive to current, local realities.

Winner of four major industry awards, this area drainage master plan provides flood management solutions that conserve the natural environment and accommodate future growth along 18 miles of the Gila River. The Gila River watershed is the largest in the state contributing storm water runoff from approximately 45,000 square miles to the project area. The river had experienced several large flood events resulting in significant damage to property and infrastructure. These events, along with other environmental issues and development pressures, threaten the river’s ecosystem and surrounding open space.

We used a regional approach with a focus on public safety, while still maintaining and enhancing the natural functions of the river. As a result, over 3,000 acres will be reclaimed from the floodplain, miles of trails will be constructed, and several hundred acres of open space and open water will be created. 

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