'A godsend': Monsoon rains fill water catchments across Arizona, bringing relief to wildlife

For years, trucks have hauled thousands of gallons of water nearly every day to 3,000 water catchments throughout Arizona to help keep wildlife hydrated during the drought.

That work still continues, but Mother Nature has been a huge help in recent weeks.

"It was so much of a godsend, it’s hard to put into words," said Joseph Currie with Arizona Game and Fish.

The constant monsoon rains have filled nearly every Arizona water catchment to its brim.

"We still have a few to haul to, but literally the workload became almost non-existent for water hauling," Currie said.

A black bear drinks from a water catchment in the Arizona desert.

A black bear drinks from a water catchment in the Arizona desert. (Arizona Game and Fish Dept.)

That’s big news for wildlife. where the impacts of the drought started to take its toll.

"Record low fawning season this year because the females couldn’t sustain an embryo, because they didn’t have enough water," Currie explained.

Sometimes, trucks would be unable to make it, and helicopters would need to fly in and deliver the water. Their budget was long gone and AZGFD relied on public donations from sendwater.org.

"That helped us tremendously in these last two years to have enough funds to keep our trucks on the roads and use helicopters for the catchments where there is no road," said Currie.

Eventually, the water will run low again, and trips will start again, but for now - a reprieve.

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