The Sweetwater Wetlands is one of the most important functional, environmental, and educational components of the City of Tucson's reclaimed water system. Treated water filters through sediments beneath recharged basins and replenishes the local aquifer. This reclaimed wastewater is recovered by extraction wells during periods of high water demand. The recovered wastewater is distributed for reuse in Tucson's golf courses, parks, schools, and other large turf irrigation areas.
- As an urban wildlife habitat, the Sweetwater Wetlands is a tranquil area where visitors can view native wildlife in an urban setting.
- This water-rich streamside riparian zone supports a huge variety of wildlife, including dragonflies, raccoons, hawks, bobcats and dozens of other species that make the wetlands their full- or part-time home.
- As an outdoor classroom, the Sweetwater Wetlands provides an environmental, educational experience in natural laboratory settings for teaching about ecology and water resource management.
- The wetlands helps establish and enhance the wildlife population in harmony with Tucson's urban environment.
Sweetwater Wetlands Access
- The Sweetwater Wetlands has more than 2.5 miles of pathways accessible to visitors. Almost 1,000 feet of pathway is concrete surfaced and ADA-approved for wheelchair access.
- Bicycle riding and dogs are not allowed on the Sweetwater Wetlands property.
- A west entrance to the Sweetwater Wetlands is open from the paved bicycle path along the east bank of the Santa Cruz River. Designed and built by Pima County for its "Loop" bicycle trail system, it includes a bench, trash bin, and bicycle racks.
- The drinking fountain includes a water bottle filling station. A handwash station makes it convenient to wash up.
- Concrete surfacing allows easy access from the parking area to the main ramada, where visitors can overlook areas of both deep, open water and shallow water with emergent (bulrush/cattail) vegetation.
- Pathways are generally flat and surfaced by either decomposed granite or ¾-inch gravel. Some areas may be thicker than others.
- The natural soil at the Wetlands is clay-rich which may become slick following a rainfall. Always exercise caution when visiting.