December 1, 2016

The Tres Rios Wetlands is a constructed wetland system located in southwest Phoenix that enhances the plant and wildlife that depend on the Salt and Gila Rivers. The water that supports the wetlands is reclaimed wastewater that has been treated to drinking water quality. The Wetlands consist of 480 acres located along a 7-mile-long section.

Why have a wetland in the desert? Completed in 2010, Tres Rios Wetlands not only help further clean high-treated effluent from Phoenix’s 91st Avenue Wastewater Treatment Plant, it also supports wildlife habitat and protects local homeowners and businesses from destructive flooding. Reusing the water to sustain the environment is simply a smart thing to do for the community, and Phoenix Water Services maintains a large pump station in order to get water from the 91st Avenue Wastewater Treatment Plant to the nearby wetlands.

The city of Phoenix is working to prepare the wetlands as a public amenity to include multi-use trails, picnic areas, and an environmental education center. Currently, the Wetlands Overbank area can only be accessed through permit, as City staff are working to protect the still vulnerable, emerging native plants and animals. Additionally, staff are working to reverse the damage that the non-native plant, Salt Cedar (also known as tamarisk), has done to the natural balance between the native plants and animals. Staff is removing large tracts of the Salt Cedar and replanting with native Cottonwood and other riparian plants to help stabilize the wetlands environment. Overbank visitors can explore the open water, riparian and marsh habitats via trails from dawn to dusk, 7 days a week, 365 days per year.


To get an access permit to utilize the site, e-mail Heather.Finden@phoenix.gov or call (602) 495-7477. Permits are processed and emailed after 5-7 business days.

Tours will be offered in the near future. Keep informed about the latest Tres Rios news by following @PHXWater on Facebook or Twitter or visiting: www.phoenix.gov/water and clicking on the Tres Rios tab.


Tina Sleeper is a Water Resource Specialist with the City of Phoenix Water Services Department, one of 17 Water – Use It Wisely partners to offer water-saving advice and programs.