Best Tunnel Vision (2011)

The Chandler Aqueduct

In 2004, the Arizona Department of Transportation was in the process of building the San Tan leg of Loop 202. As workers dug in the Ocotillo area of Chandler, near Alma School and Pecos Roads, the crew lowered a video camera into one of the abandoned wells on the land formerly belonging to A.J. Chandler. As the camera descended, the view of the well's dirt walls gave way to beautiful handcrafted bricks: The ADOT crew had discovered a leg of an aqueduct system 15 to 20 feet below the surface and constructed by hand in the 1910s. Because the Salt River Project had not diverted sufficient surface water to Chandler's lands, Chandler dug about a dozen wells in the area and connected them with aqueducts for irrigation purposes. Historians speculate that the system extends anywhere from 1,800 feet to several miles, as far south as Hunt Highway — a monument to a hardworking farmer.


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