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AZGFD plans to haul nearly 3 million gallons of water to thirsty wildlife

(AZGFD Photo)

PHOENIX — The Arizona Game and Fish Department is planning to haul nearly 3 million gallons of water to thirsty wildlife this year, a record number as drought conditions worsen.

The agency trucked and airlifted about 2.4 million gallons of water in 2020 but is anticipating the increase because its unlikely drought relief will come soon.

“We usually get a break from hauling water in August after monsoon rains refill much of our water catchments,” Joseph Currie, habitat planning program manager, said in a press release.

“However, due to this extreme drought, we haven’t stopped hauling water from 2020. We anticipate having to haul more water this year than we ever have before.”

AZGFD has about 1,000 of its own catchments statewide in addition to maintaining 1,000 Bureau of Land Management and 1,000 U.S. Forest Service catchments.

The agency is responsible for most of the costs of hauling the water, which services more than 800 wildlife species throughout the state.

“Historic drought periods, such as this one, were typically followed by massive die-offs of wildlife,” Currie said. “By hauling water, we are able to stabilize those populations, keeping them alive and out of urban areas in search of water.”

This is the 75th year AZGFD has taken water to help wildlife.

Those who wants to donate for to offset costs of hauling the water can text “SENDWATER” to 41444 or give online.

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