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Salt River

Length: 200 miles (322 kilometers)

Located in central Arizona. Formed in plateau region of east Arizona by confluence of Black and White rivers c.40 mi/64 km northeast of Globe, where it forms, with Black River, boundary between Fort Apache (North) and San Carlos (South) Indian reservations, then it flows generally west, to the Gila River 15 miles west-southwest of Phoenix, through Salt River. Canyon and Tonto Natl. Forest, where it passes through Theodore Roosevelt L. reservoir and dam, Apache L. (Horse Mesa Dam), Canyon L. (Mormon Flat Dam), and Saguaro L. (Stewart Mt. Dam), and through Granite Reef Dam, which diverts water to canals to irrigate Phoenix area, in close succession, then forms south boundary of Salt River Indian Reservation, then flows past Mesa, Tempe, and Scottsdale, and through city of Phoenix, S of downtown. Sierra Ancha and Mazatzal mts. are N of river’s mid-course; Salt River Mts. S of lower course in Phoenix. Was used for irrigation centuries ago by Indians and in 19th cent. by early settlers. Valley is now served by Salt River irrigation project, 1st major undertaking in U.S. reclamation program. Important dams built on river as units in project are Roosevelt Dam, Horse Mesa Dam, Mormon Flat Dam, Stewart Mountain Dam, and Granite Reef Dam (small, concrete weir, completed 1908, c.25 mi/40 km ENE of Phoenix). Cave Creek Dam (109 ft/33 m high, 1,648 ft/502 m long; completed 1923; used for flood control) is on small, intermittent tributary and N of Phoenix. Bartlett Dam and Horseshoe Dam are on Verde R., chief tributary of Salt R. Water is distributed through more than 1,000 mi/1,609 km of irrigation canals; cotton, alfalfa, fruit, and vegetables are raised. Favorable climate makes river valley popular as resort area.