Water Restoration in Arizona

To support Intel’s commitment to achieve net positive water use, we have funded 15 water restoration projects benefiting Arizona. Once fully implemented, these projects will restore an estimated 937 million gallons each year. This page provides a summary of Intel-funded projects  supporting Arizona’s water resources.

Price River Fall 2020 Flow Restoration

Location: Colorado River Watershed, Colorado

Implementation Partner: Trout Unlimited

Estimated Restoration Benefit: 70 MG during 2020

Project Status: Restored water in October 2020

Project Description: The Price River, which flows to the Colorado River System, experiences chronic low flows and poor habitat conditions for fish. Building on the winter water leasing project funded by Intel in 2018, this project expands the benefit to release water from the Scofield reservoir during October 2020 to improve depleted in-stream flows.

15-Mile Reach Fall 2020 Flow Restoration

Location: Colorado River Watershed, Colorado

Implementation Partner: Colorado Water Trust

Estimated Restoration Benefi: 73 MG during 2020

Project Status: Restored water in September 2020

Project Description: The upper Colorado River supports native federally endangered fish species. During late summer through early fall in the “15-Mile Reach” of the Colorado River, water levels often fall so low they do not adequately support these fish species. Colorado Water Trust and their partners have developed an innovative agreement to lease water that boosts stream flow during critical low-flow periods while supporting hydropower generation to provide nearby communities with clean renewable energy.

Lower Salt River Restoration Phase III

Location: Salt River Basin, Tonto National Forest, Arizona

Implementation Partner: National Forest Foundation (NFF)

Estimated Restoration Benefit1: 79 million gallons/year (MGY)

Project Status: Initiated in 2020

Project Description: In 2012, invasive and noxious weed infestations were estimated to cover more than 500,000 acres of the Tonto National Forest, threatening native plant species, increasing susceptibility to wildfire, and impacting water flowing to the Salt River, a key water source for Phoenix. Expanding on a project funded in 2018, Phase III aims to restore an additional 70 acres of habitat by replacing invasive Arundo and Tamarix with native species and revegetating an area burned in a 2017 wildfire.

Colorado River Indian Tribes Drought Contingency Project

Location: Colorado River Watershed, Arizona

Implementation Partner: Audubon Arizona and National Audubon Society

Estimated Restoration Benefit: 26 MGY

Project Status: Initiated in 2020; began restoring water in 2020

Project Description: The Colorado River Indian Tribes (CRIT) have lands that stretch 56 miles of the Colorado River, and hold 720,000 acre-feet of water rights for use on their reservation. As part of the Arizona Drought Contingency Plan (DCP), the CRIT will lease water typically used for farm irrigation and leave it in the river to support Lake Mead water levels. The project will reduce the likelihood of water shortage declarations and play a key role in helping Arizona comply with its DCP system conservation requirements.

Groundwater Recharge in Tucson Basin

Location: Tucson Basin, Arizona

Implementation Partner: Watershed Management Group

Estimated Restoration Benefit: 21 MGY

Project Status: Initiated in 2019; began restoring water in 2020

Project Description: To help address Tucson’s depleted groundwater supply, the Watershed Management Group is working with local landowners and volunteers to build stone structures that will facilitate the collection of rainwater for groundwater recharge. When it rains, these structures will slow and enhance infiltration of runoff which helps to recharge shallow aquifers supporting critical riparian forests.

Eureka Ditch Pipeline Project

Location: Camp Verde, Arizona

Implementation Partner: The Nature Conservancy

Estimated Restoration Benefit: 107 MGY

Project Status: Initiated in 2019; began restoring water in 2020

Project Description: Eureka Ditch is one of eight earthen irrigation ditches that supplies Verde River water to over 200 property owners. It is estimated that the ditch is losing about 12% of water transported due to seepage and evaporation. To reduce water loss and consequently the amount of water drawn from the river, this project will install pipeline to enclose a half-mile stretch of the ditch. It will reduce maintenance costs, provide more reliable water delivery, and build resilience for local farmers.

Verde Valley Irrigation Conversion Project

Location: Verde River Watershed, Arizona

Implementation Partner: The Nature Conservancy

Estimated Restoration Benefit: 19 MGY

Project Status: Initiated in 2019; began restoring water in 2020

Project Description: The Verde River provides wildlife habitat, recreation and irrigation supply for farms in the Verde Valley and is a critical component of Arizona’s water supply. The Nature Conservancy is partnering with a farmer located in the Verde Valley, to convert from flood to drip irrigation. Drip irrigation is more efficient for irrigating crops than flood irrigation, with an estimated irrigation improvement from approximately 40% to 90%. This allows the farmer to successfully grow crops while conserving water in West Clear Creek and the Verde River.

Price and Colorado River Winter Flow Restoration

Location: Price River Basin, Utah (to benefit Arizona’s water supply)

Implementation Partner: Trout Unlimited

Estimated Restoration Benefit: 102 MGY

Project Status: Initiated in 2018; began restoring water in 2020

Project Description: The Price River, which flows to the Colorado River System and ultimately Lake Powell, experiences fish kills and poor habitat conditions during the winter months due to low reservoir outflows. For this project, Trout Unlimited will lease water rights that were previously held by a coal-fired power plant (closed in 2015), allowing benefits to the Colorado River System by re-watering downstream of the reservoir. Through this water leasing project, the water right is protected for ten years and will enhance depleted instream flows through the Price River which will ultimately be delivered to the Colorado River System.

Lower Salt River Restoration

Location: Salt River Basin, Tonto National Forest, Arizona

Implementation Partner: National Forest Foundation (NFF)

Estimated Restoration Benefit: 89 MGY

Project Status: Initiated in 2018; began restoring water in 2020

Project Description: Tonto National Forest, north of Phoenix, is one of the most visited National Forests in the U.S. with approximately 5.8 million visitors annually. In 2012, invasive and noxious weed infestations were estimated to cover more than 500,000 acres of the Tonto National Forest, threatening native plant species and increasing susceptibility to wildfire which impacts water flowing to the Salt River, a key water source for the City of Phoenix. This project aims to restore 70 acres of habitat by replacing invasive Arundo and Tamarix with native species and revegetating the area burned in the Cactus Fire.

West Clear Creek Pipeline Project

Location: West Clear Creek, Arizona

Implementation Partner: The Nature Conservancy

Estimated Restoration Benefit: 26 MGY

Project Status: Initiated in 2018; began restoring water in 2019

Project Description: West Clear Creek, a rare cold water habitat on route to the Verde River, provides some of the most intact and valuable fish and wildlife habitat in the region. This area has been impacted by irrigation diversions, but by upgrading irrigation infrastructure and making smarter use of water through converting flood irrigation to drip irrigation, fixing leaky sections of irrigation canals, establishing new head gates with improved control, and implementing high tech soil moisture monitoring, this project will reduce irrigation withdrawals and generate instream benefits to fish and wildlife.

Mountain Island Ranch (MIR)

Location: Main stem of Colorado River near Thompson, Utah (to benefit Arizona’s water supply)

Implementation Partner: Trout Unlimited

Estimated Restoration Benefit: 142 MGY

Project Status: Initiated in 2017; began restoring water in 2018

Project Description: MIR is an organic cattle ranch operating on roughly 125,000 acres of land that helps preserve and enhance critical wildlife habitat. Water was historically diverted from the Colorado River to irrigate alfalfa and support other agricultural operations. This system conservation project will leave water in the Colorado River that was previously withdrawn by converting alfalfa to cool season, low water use grasses and improving irrigation efficiency.

Lower San Pedro River

Location: Lower San Pedro River, Gila River Basin, Arizona (to benefit Arizona’s water supply)

Implementation Partner: Arizona Land and Water Trust (ALWT); Desert Rivers Program

Estimated Restoration Benefit: 80 MGY

Project Status: Initiated in 2017; began restoring water in 2019

Project Description: The San Pedro River provides critical habitat for migratory birds and other wildlife, but groundwater pumping for agriculture has contributed to extremely low flows and intermittent dry periods, threatening the health of the riparian ecosystem. This project includes conversion to drought-tolerant native grasses that do not require sustained irrigation.

Barley Conversion

Location: Camp Verde, Verde River Watershed, Arizona (to benefit Arizona’s water supply)

Implementation Partner: The Nature Conservancy (TNC)

Estimated Restoration Benefit: 43 MGY

Project Status: Initiated in 2017; began restoring water in 2018

Project Description: The Verde River is a water source for Phoenix and a lifeline for wildlife in the American Southwest, but like many western rivers, streamflow is low or nonexistent in some areas during the hot summer months when water is diverted to irrigate crops. This project will shift crop production to malt barley which is harvested before the critical summer water stress period, resulting in more water in the river and a profitable crop for local farmers.

Long Valley Meadow

Location: Verde River Watershed, Coconino National Forest, Arizona (to benefit Arizona’s water supply)

Implementation Partner: National Forest Foundation (NFF)

Estimated Restoration Benefit: 20 MGY

Project Status: Initiated in 2017; began restoring water in 2018

Project Description: Long Valley Meadow provides water filtration, water storage, and habitat along the Mogollon Rim in the Coconino National Forest. The site has been degraded from historic land management practices, which have caused severely incised channels with actively expanding bank erosion. This project will restore headwater meadows by diverting flow out of incised channels and into the meadow, restoring the floodplain connection and allowing water to infiltrate into groundwater, increasing the soil’s storage capacity.

Intel in Arizona

We’re committed to creating a better tomorrow for our communities. Learn more about what Intel is doing in Arizona.

Restore 100% Global Water Use


Over the last two decades, our sustainable water management efforts have enabled us to conserve billions of gallons of water and return approximately 80% of our water use back to our communities. Now, we are broadening our focus to restore 100% of our global water use.

Product and Performance Information

1The restoration benefit represents an estimation based on the expected outcome of each project. After each project is completed, the restoration benefit will be reviewed and updated as needed.