I am a Phoenician through and through. Born and raised in Phoenix, Arizona. My home city is, sadly, not the most environmentally friendly city. Phoenix could definitely stand to learn a thing or two from our neighbor to the north, Flagstaff, Arizona. I am proud to say that Phoenix has been making steps towards becoming more green.
Salt River Project (SRP) has been providing electrical power and water services to central Arizona since 1903. It is the third largest public power utility in the U.S. and the largest water supplier in Arizona. I had only a vague idea of what SRP really was until very recently. Two friends and I were on an entirely too long of a run, dying of thirst, and came across Arizona Falls, a SRP hydroelectric plant that conveniently has a drinking fountain. Although it had a funky smell, the place intrigued me. Here is what I have discovered...
The Salt River Valley Canal was constructed in the 1800s to deliver water to farm land from the Salt River. There is a 20 foot drop at a point (what is now between 56th St. and 58th St. and Indian School Rd.) that creates a waterfall. SRP built the first Phoenix hydroelectric plant at this location and named it Arizona Falls. Apparently, it became the cool spot to hang out since it was cooler by the water and who doesn't love a waterfall?
Original Arizona Falls:
Since its debut, it has been shut down and forgotten. Thank goodness SRP started their Earthwise Energy program* and thought to reopen it and spruce it up a bit while preserving some of its history (I love history)! You must love it (or at least like it) or you would have quit reading this post awhile ago.
Arizona Falls, as we know it today, combines art, history, and technology to provide us with a sustainable source of energy. According to SRP, it generates 50 kilowatts of clean, renewable electricity, which can power up to 150 homes. Dang! As far as art and history go, there are three waterfalls that allow you to see the antique gears through the flowing water. Because it's Phoenix, and it's hot, there is a shaded viewing area. Solar panels on the roof power ceiling fans to help keep you cool. If you suddenly feel the urge to break out in a dance, feel free to find your way to the dance floor! I'm not sure where the music is supposed to come from so I suggest dancing to the beat of your own drum or bring your own music player.
New Arizona Falls:
So is Arizona Falls going to be a hot spot of Phoenix? Perhaps... if they actually have a party like the one shown in the picture. It definitely comes in handy when you go for a run along the canal though!
So, my fellow Phoenicians, are you going to check out Arizona Falls?
My out-of-town readers, do you have anything like this where you live? How green is your city?
*To find out more about SRP and the Earthwise Energy program click here.