Agua Caliente Wash

To provide comments on this watershed for consideration in the Floodplain Management Plan, contact Greg Saxe
Planning Manager
(520) 724-4633.
The Agua Caliente Wash’s headwaters originate in the Santa Catalina Mountains at an elevation of about 5,000 feet above sea level. This watershed contains some of the largest networks of springs, surface flows and shallow groundwater anywhere in Pima County. Just upstream of Tanque Verde Road, the Agua Caliente levee has been built to direct floodwater under the Tanque Verde Road Bridge. Agua Caliente Wash and its tributaries impact hundreds of properties, and the District has documented flooded structures due to flooding from this watercourse. Flows may also create unsafe road crossings and limit property access when water is flowing. In this area it is important to plan ahead to find safe alternate routes and purchase flood insurance. This watershed contains 3,821 acres of SFHA, 3,646 acres of locally identified floodplain and 12,232 acres of Regulated Riparian Habitat.

Flood Hazards


Click HERE to view the watershed map
Click HERE to view the outreach brochure
Click HERE to view the hazard map

Floodplain Studies

Floodplain Study FP-018-2009 - Soldier Wash and its Tributary, RFCD, 6/10/2010. (Webmaster's note: Please note that erroneous versions of Exhibits 1.1 and 1.2 were accidentally linked here. If you downloaded Exhibits 1.1 or 1.2 previously, please ensure that you have the correct version of these exhibits.) Exhibit 1.1, Exhibit 1.2, Exhibit 3.1, Exhibit 3.2(Note: This study replaces two previous Special Studies for Soldier Wash, one study by Arroyo Engineering and one study by RGA Engineering, and also replaces a previous Special Study #33 for Milagrosa Hills Wash)

Agua Caliente Wash Floodplain Study website.

Erosion Studies

There are currently no erosion studies in this watershed.

Areas of Interest (Known Issues, Gaps, Problems and Needs)

Issues Provided by Public and Stakeholder Input

No issues have been identified to date.

Issues from the District Flood Response Manual

8.1.1 Data Gathering Needs
• Monitor effects of 2006 debris flow event on areas that, prior to the 2006 event, did not experience flooding. How is the new sediment deposition affecting flow? (T13S R16E Sec. 18/19)
• Agua Caliente Wash: The trigger discharge to monitor the area east and south of the spur dike is approximately 7,500 cfs at the Tanque Verde Road Gage (ALERT ID# 2203). Location is the intersection of Melpomene Way and Sundance Dr. (T13S R16E Sec. 31)

8.1.2 Frequently Flooded Structures and Properties Subject to Damage
• Agua Caliente Wash breaks out near 2861 N. Melpomene Road. in the Melpomene and Glenn area. (T13S R16E Sec. 19)
• Agua Caliente Wash overbanks on the left bank near Limberlost and Soldier Trail. Flooding is exacerbated by tributary flows. (T13S R16E Sec. 19)
• Agua Caliente Wash: there are erosion issues along Bel Air Ranch Estates. (T13S R16E Sec. 30)
• Agua Caliente Wash: channel migration of Agua Caliente Wash threatens 3980 N. Homestead Road (T13S R16E Sec. 19)
• Soldier Trail Wash: due to elevated roadway and lack of a dip section at Snyder road, flow tends to divert, at least partially, toward 11610 E. Snyder Road, instead of remaining in the main channel of wash. DOT has placed large berm in front of property for protection. Elevated roadway has caused sediment deposition upstream of Snyder road between Catalina Hwy and Soldier Trail (DOT issue). Several structures downstream of Snyder Road have flooded in the past. (T13S R16E, Sec. 19)
• Soldier Trail Wash: immediately downstream of Mt. Lemmon Short Road, 5267 N. Mt. Lemmon Short Road and 5247 N. Mt. Lemmon Short Road, properties and structures experience flooding during large storm events. (T13S R16E, Sec. 18)
• Castle Rock Wash contains a lot of sediment and the overbank floods frequently. (T13S R15E Sec. 35)
• Fortyniners Wash: Upstream development has caused problems southwest of Redington and Wentworth in the area around Calle Tatita and Calle Tango. (T13S R16 Sec. 32)
• Agua Caliente Wash: Inundation of homes adjacent to the main watercourse may start at 5,000 cfs, recorded at Tanque Verde Road Gage (ALERT ID# 2203). Homes located on both sides of the wash north of the spur dike and south of Ft. Lowell Road are expected to flood as flows approach 7,000 cfs. Flows greater than 7,000 cfs are likely to go around the spur dike. Homes immediately upstream of Fort Lowell Road are expected to flood as flows reach 13,000 cfs, with more likely flooding occurring further upstream as flows exceed 13,000 cfs. (T13S R15E Sec. 36)

8.1.3 Infrastructure
• Agua Caliente Wash is head-cutting (6-8 ft. deep) up towards Soldier Trail. Damage to roadway likely as head-cutting progresses up stream. (T13S R16E Sec. 19)
• Snyder Road is potentially subject to damage along the eastern portion of the Santa Catalina mountain front. (T13S R16E Sec. 18)

8.1.4 Safety Concerns
• Agua Caliente Wash: The entire Agua Caliente base flood will not fit through the Tanque Verde Road Bridge on major floods. Some flow will go over Tanque Verde Road east of the bridge. On the 100-year flood or less, flow depths over the roadway are expected to be less than one foot deep. If you are traveling down Tanque Verde Road and it appears to have shallow flow going over the roadway to the east of the bridge, proceed with extreme caution. (T13S R15E Sec. 36)
• Access to the area east of Agua Caliente Wash and north of Caliente Hills Wash (north of Fort Lowell Rd.) can get cut-off during flood events. Do not enter this area during a flood event unless prepared to remain there until the flood waters subside. (T13S R16E Sec. 30)
• Fort Lowell often remains closed at Agua Caliente Wash after major flow events due to sand bar deposition on the roadway. (T13S R16E Sec. 30)
• This area contains numerous wash crossings that may become impassable. Paved crossings are subject to flood damage and may be severely damaged. Snyder Road between Harrison Rd. and Soldier Trail is particularly problematic. (T13S R16E Sec. 19)
• Agua Caliente Wash: When flows go around the spur dike (possibly at 7,500 cfs at Tanque Verde Road Gage (ALERT ID# 2203) a key emergency services issue is Tanque Verde Road east of the bridge will start to be flooded. For the Q100 the depth on the roadway will be about 1 foot. (T13S R15E Sec. 36)


Recommendation of Actions and Floodplain Management Strategy

This section to be completed based on feedback received through the planning process.

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