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Jul 16, 2014 9:12 PM by John Patrick

Agua Caliente Park sees new low

TUCSON - Drought-stricken Agua Caliente Park has received little help from the monsoon but Pima County is doing what it can to keep it afloat.

Agua Caliente Park has received over an inch of rain to start the monsoon but that isn't going to be enough to help the park's main pond that is now at an all time low.

According to some of the parks frequent visitors the wildlife seems to be disappearing as fast as the water. However, what's left of the drought-stricken ponds still draws people in from all walks of life, like Bernard Hammond who is visiting from France.

"It's very special to be here. We thought we were in Egypt," Hammond explained.

Agua Caliente Park has long been referred to as an oasis in the desert but the spring that feeds the park has been on a steady decline for about 15 years.

According to Kerry Baldwin with the Department of Natural Resources the spring used to pump water out at 140 gallons a minute but it's been completely dry for 2 years now.

With water levels in the ponds at an all time low, the county is pumping 100 gallons of well water into the system but without a permanent fix even this water may disappear.

"Right now we want to stabilize the pond and stabilize what we're filling rather just keep pumping water and water into the system," Baldwin said.

County officials would like to line the bottom of the pond and reduce its size to bring it back to life but the project is expected to cost $1 million.

The next hurdle would be to get this bond project on the ballot in 2015 so those who visit the park don't lose their desert oasis.

"This pond has been here since the early 1900s in some form or another so we'd like it to have another 100 year lifespan and that's why we're making the decisions we are now," Baldwin said.

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