This presentation covers humankind’s water use and food supply interactions with Arizona’s ecology from Clovis Culture hunter-gatherers to proto-farmers to Hohokam irrigation canals, Hopi and Tohono O’odham dry farming, and present-day American farmers. We will examine archaeological studies of how overhunting and climate change affected the wooly mammoth populations and the experiments with agriculture that followed. From proto-farmers attempts to increase growth of certain plants to some of the earliest irrigation canal projects in North America.
The Southwest’s indigenous people developed methods to survive the regions’ harsh climate. The Hopi and Tohono O’odham cultures not only altered their physical environment but developed a cultural belief system that espoused frugality and harmony with their natural surroundings. This presentation will also look at the life works of Professor Robert Forbes, who served at the University of Arizona Agricultural Experiment Station in the early 1900s and went on to father Arizona’s first groundwater laws as an Arizona legislator in the 1950s.