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From ancient times to the present, the history of Arizona has always been closely tied to the availability of water. Most of the population of the state lives along or is entirely dependent upon historic riverbeds, many of which are now dry because all of the water has been impounded for irrigation and domestic uses.
Records of the ownership and usage of the water systems have been kept since the earliest times of settlement by the Europeans. The Native American population was likewise dependent entirely upon the availability of water. In the Salt River Valley, the ancient inhabitants developed an immense system of canals Much of this system of canals was adopted by the European settlers and forms the basis for the huge city of Phoenix and the surrounding communities to this day.
Water rights may seem far removed from genealogy, but in Arizona adopted the right of prior appropriation from the earliest times. The lack of an abundant water supply has led to an almost constant series of court cases both internally and with surrounding states over the issue of water rights.
The court litigation and the ownership records of water rights are a valuable source of information about the residents of the state and have great value to genealogists.
Importance of Water Records
Finding Water Records