Omar Turney Hohokam Canals

Dr. Omar Turney (November 1, 1866 – December 21, 1929) was an American archaeologist and engineer. He had been employed beginning in 1888 as an assistant engineer on the rebuilding of the Arizona Canal Dam. And was later employed as a surveyor for the Santa Fe, Prescott and Phoenix railway. He also served successively in the United States geological survey and in the United States reclamation service. He was one of the principal sponsors of the Roosevelt Dam, and is largely responsible for the name given to the Dam. For 12 years after leaving the government service Dr. Turney served the cities of Phoenix, Mesa, Tempe and Glendale as city engineer.

In his last year of life Dr. Turney published a series of articles in the Arizona Historical Review entitled “Prehistoric Irrigation“, the result of the collection of data over a period of more than 40 years.

In 1929, Dr. Omar Turney, created a map of the Salt River Valley showing the results of exhaustive surveys cataloging Hohokam Canal systems in the Salt River Valley. Dr. Turney’s astonishment and respect for the accomplishments of these ancient Hohokam engineers is evident in the text of the map “these were the original engineers, the true pioneers who built, used and abandoned the canal system when London and Paris were cluster of wild huts”.

Turney’s survey is the most definitive of the Salt River Canal system ever created. It was the product of observations made over the course of more than 40 years of study, and the map shows dozens of prehistoric canals on both sides of the Salt River in the vicinity of Phoenix, Tempe and Scottsdale. The map accompanied Turney’s multi-installment prehistoric irrigation in the 1929 Arizona Historical Review.

Turney’s map provides a record of the Hohokam Canal System which would be unmatched until extensive aerial surveys became available, and goes beyond this to supply irreplaceable archaeological evidence for the ruins of abandoned prehistoric temples and settlements in the area, subject to destruction at the hands of European settlers.

Turney laments: “40 years ago few [Hohokam Canals] had been destroyed. One by one we have seen them torn down, but so many remained that it seemed the whole story of the early race could be told many times over from those that remained. With keen resentment we heard an outsider come here and declare that all were gone. When this report was begun, it still seemed that plenty remained, we drove about to measure them up and with astonishment found that 31 edifices of the past are now of the past themselves: only two remain. As a report, this preliminary has become an obituary!”

Also, many of the Hohokam ruins found in the Salt River Valley are recorded with precision only on this map. In addition to specific temples in pueblos, the map notes the location of pictographs, pictoglyphs, and hieroglyphs throughout the region. A ceremonial grotto is marked on the Camelback Mountain, as does Phoenix’s famous “Hole in the Rock” landmark.

Confusingly, several of the names of ruins found on the map are drawn from Mormon scripture. Turney noted in his third installment of prehistoric irrigation that: “Casa de Nephi was so named in thanks to the leaders in the Mormon church for their long and untiring efforts to check and verify every detail of the Turney map in their part of the [east] valley. Names in this locality are taken from the book of Mormon.” Other such place names include Pueblo Moroni and Pueblo Lehi.

The personalizing feature appearing on the map is on the north bank of the Salt River is the “Park of Four Waters“. Turney chose this location – now part of the Pueblo Grande Museum – to be the final resting place of his ashes after his death.

Well Maintenance Schedule


If you are among the hundreds of thousands of Arizonians who rely on a private well system for your water supply, then it is imperative you create a maintenance schedule and method for record keeping. Set a maintenance schedule to test your water in to inspect your well, water treatment, and septic systems.


Set a maintenance schedule to inspect and test your well water, septic system, and water treatment. Private water supply systems require routine maintenance. These simple steps will help protect your well water system: 

  • Perform annual tests for a minimum of bacteria.
  • Test your water anytime there is a change in taste, odor or appearance or someone is ill or pregnant. 
  • Keep hazardous chemicals, distinct, fertilizer, pesticides and motor oil, far away from your well. 
  • Periodically check your bill headed for damages in the well cap. 
  • Allow only grass to grow around your well. Other plants can have longer roots and can damage your well casing. 
  • Take care when working and mowing around your well. Damage to the casing can jeopardize the sanitary protection of your well. Don’t pile snow, leaves or other materials around your well.
  • Keep the Always keep it up using the maintenance and water testing logs in a manual. 

The safety and purity of drinking water and the efficient operation of your well system depends on a properly organized maintenance schedule. Protect your investment in quality water supply through regular inspection, testing and repair. Similar to maintenance and repair on your car. 

Gather a comprehensive history on your well and water quality. If you don’t already have a well log or well record, it’s not too late to start. 

Well Inspection Maintenance Schedule  

Inspect the water well several times a year. Check the condition of the well covering, casing and well cap to make sure all are in good repair, leaving no cracks or another open points for potential debris and pollutants. 

Have the well system, including the pump, storage tank, pipes and valves, and water flow inspected every five years by a licensed well contractor. However, if you have no inspection record and cannot determine the age of the well, have it inspected immediately by a licensed well contractor. A properly maintained well usually has a serviceable life of more than 20 years. 

Water Testing Schedule 

When should you have your water tested? Have you water tested when you purchase a property, annually, and when necessary. 

To keep your well water clean and well operating at peak performance, regular water testing is a must. Private well owners are solely responsible for the quality of their drinking water. So, it is up to you, how and when to test your water. 

1. Initial Water Testing 

  • When a new well is drilled. 
  • If there is no record of testing. 
  • You’re buying a home with a well. 

2. Annual Water Testing

  • At a minimum, well water should be tested every year. 

3. Intermediate Testing of Well Water: The well water should be tested immediately if;

  • You install a treatment system. 
  • There is a sudden change in taste, color, or odor. 
  • Someone in the home is pregnant or nursing. 
  • Failure of a septic system.  
  • After a flooding event. 
  • Someone in the home has a sudden, unexplained illness. 

What Contaminants Should You be Testing For in Your Well Water? At a minimum, test for the following common contaminants: 

  • Bacteria-this is the most common contaminant found in well water.  
  • Nitrates- faulty septic systems and fertilizers.  
  • Lead- from household plumbing. 
  • Arsenic- occurs naturally and was once a common ingredient in pesticides. 
  • Additional contaminants- Other tests may be required depending on where you live and what is located near your water supply. 

Who Can Test My Well Water? There are companies that have been accredited and certified to test well water. Search local laboratories by clicking HERE. 

Schedule Physical Inspections of the Well 

Regularly inspect your wellhead for damage to the casing or well cap. Repair any damage immediately to reduce the potential for contamination. Store all chemicals at least 100 feet from your well. Keep heavy equipment and vehicles off your lawn and away from your well to avoid damage to buried water lines. Other than grass, do not let plants grow near your well as plant roots can cause damage to your well casing.   

Inspect and Protect the Wellhead 

The most visible portion of your drinking water system is the wellhead, the structure built over the well to protect its various parts. The wellhead is your first line of defense to prevent pollutants from entering your drinking water system. The wellhead protects the well casing, which is the lining of the well, and the well cap, which provides a tight-fitting seal at the top of the well. Inspect your wellhead regularly to make sure these elements are in good condition. By protecting your wellhead, you will help ensure the quality of your water supply. 

Schedule Septic System Maintenance 

Set a maintenance schedule to inspect and test your septic system. Keep records of maintenance, test results, and repairs to help your contractor with future repairs. To avoid well contamination, septic tanks should be pumped every three to five years based on use and family size. Inspect septic tank each year for capacity and leaks. Repair the tank or drain field system as needed to prevent leaks of bacteria and nutrients into groundwater. Faulty septic system poses a serious threat to the quality of your drinking water and can require expensive repairs. 

At a minimum, your water should be tested every year for bacteria, the most common water quality problem.  


What well water records should be kept? Keep records of maintenance, test results, and repairs to help your contractor with future repairs. 

  1. What Well Records Should be Kept? 

Copies of the well share agreements, electricity usage, bank account balances. 

  1. How & Where Should the Well Records be Kept? 

Ideally, the records will be kept in a safe location, where they can easily be updated and accessible by all parties to the well share agreement.  

The real estate attorneys of the Dunaway Law Group can assist you with all of your professional well water services. Contact us by phone at: 480-702-1608 or email us at

Water Well Maintenance Records


In addition to keeping copies of all the well record forms submitted to the Arizona Department of Water Resources, well owners should keep a summary of their well construction and maintenance activities. To assist in this task a well maintenance record form can be found by clicking HERE. This form lists and groups the types of information necessary for the efficient up-keep and repair.

When a water pump is exchanged then it is to be reported to the ADWR. See ADWR Online Pump Completion Report (

If you need help drafting a well share agreement then contact the real estate attorneys at the Dunaway Law Group. Message us at