Lack of Rain Dries Up Popular Creek

Lack of Rain Dries Up Popular Creek

One of Tucson’s most beloved scenic gems has completely dried up after months with no rainfall.

Sabino Creek is part of the stunning Sabino Canyon, an area that often attracts human and animal visitors. As one of the scenic gems of Tucson, this is a beloved spot in Arizona’s beautiful great outdoors. But, like much of the state, the natural surroundings are greatly impacted by the southwest’s dry, arid climate- a fact that has been reinforced by the bone-dry status of the creekbed.

After months with no significant rainfall, the creek has run dry. With no recorded flow since September 14, the creek has trickled to a stop. More than 80 days later, this marks one of the longest no-flow spells on the creek, and there’s no end in sight. While the creek often dwindles to low flow during the blistering summer heat, monsoon rains and snowmelt soon replenish water levels. In the autumn of 2012, it remained dry for 73 days before water started flowing again.

It’s a far cry from other times when the creek bed is gushing with snowmelt, thanks to the surrounding Catalina Mountains. This past February, water flowed at 57 cubic feet per second at Sabino Dam.

Fast forward to December 2017, and the stream bed is all dry rocks. Sabino Lake- just upstream from the dam- is often under water, but now it’s just sand.


Experts suggest more rainfall is the magic key to getting the water flowing again- but no precipitation is in the immediate forecast. Snowfall up in the Catalinas could also make a positive difference. But as history has proven, residents should have no fear, as the creek eventually starts to run again.

For more information, please visit the official website of the Sabino Canyon.

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