Arroyo (creek)
An arroyo a Spanish
Spanish language
Spanish , also known as Castilian , is a Romance language in the Ibero-Romance group that evolved from several languages and dialects in central-northern Iberia around the 9th century and gradually spread with the expansion of the Kingdom of Castile into central and southern Iberia during the...

 word translated as brook, and also called a wash is usually a dry creek
A stream is a body of water with a current, confined within a bed and stream banks. Depending on its locale or certain characteristics, a stream may be referred to as a branch, brook, beck, burn, creek, "crick", gill , kill, lick, rill, river, syke, bayou, rivulet, streamage, wash, run or...

 or stream bed
Stream bed
A stream bed is the channel bottom of a stream, river or creek; the physical confine of the normal water flow. The lateral confines or channel margins, during all but flood stage, are known as the stream banks or river banks. In fact, a flood occurs when a stream overflows its banks and flows onto...

A gulch is a deep V-shaped valley formed by erosion. It may contain a small stream or dry creek bed and is usually larger in size than a gully. Occasionally, sudden intense rainfall may produce flash floods in the area of the gulch....

 that temporarily or seasonally fills and flows after sufficient rain
Rain is liquid precipitation, as opposed to non-liquid kinds of precipitation such as snow, hail and sleet. Rain requires the presence of a thick layer of the atmosphere to have temperatures above the melting point of water near and above the Earth's surface...

. Wadi
Wadi is the Arabic term traditionally referring to a valley. In some cases, it may refer to a dry riverbed that contains water only during times of heavy rain or simply an intermittent stream.-Variant names:...

 is a similar term in Africa
Africa is the world's second largest and second most populous continent, after Asia. At about 30.2 million km² including adjacent islands, it covers 6% of the Earth's total surface area and 20.4% of the total land area...

. In Spain
Spain , officially the Kingdom of Spain languages]] under the European Charter for Regional or Minority Languages. In each of these, Spain's official name is as follows:;;;;;;), is a country and member state of the European Union located in southwestern Europe on the Iberian Peninsula...

, a rambla has a similar meaning to arroyo.

Types and processes

Arroyos can be natural fluvial
Fluvial is used in geography and Earth science to refer to the processes associated with rivers and streams and the deposits and landforms created by them...

A landform or physical feature in the earth sciences and geology sub-fields, comprises a geomorphological unit, and is largely defined by its surface form and location in the landscape, as part of the terrain, and as such, is typically an element of topography...

s or constructed flood control channel
Flood control channel
Flood control channels are a series of large and empty open-air channels that extend a ways below the street levels of some larger cities, so that if and when a flood occurs, the flood will run into the channels, and proceed to be drained to the proper body of water...

s. The term usually applies to a sloped or mountain
Image:Himalaya_annotated.jpg|thumb|right|The Himalayan mountain range with Mount Everestrect 58 14 160 49 Chomo Lonzorect 200 28 335 52 Makalurect 378 24 566 45 Mount Everestrect 188 581 920 656 Tibetan Plateaurect 250 406 340 427 Rong River...

ous terrain in xeric and desert
A desert is a landscape or region that receives an extremely low amount of precipitation, less than enough to support growth of most plants. Most deserts have an average annual precipitation of less than...

 climates. In addition: in many rural communities arroyos are also the principal transportation routes; and in many urban communities arroyos are also parks and recreational locations, often with linear multi-use bicycle, pedestrian, and equestrian trails. Flash flood
Flash flood
A flash flood is a rapid flooding of geomorphic low-lying areas—washes, rivers, dry lakes and basins. It may be caused by heavy rain associated with a storm, hurricane, or tropical storm or meltwater from ice or snow flowing over ice sheets or snowfields...

ing can cause the cutting of deep arroyos or deposition of sediment on flooded lands. This can lower the groundwater
Groundwater is water located beneath the ground surface in soil pore spaces and in the fractures of rock formations. A unit of rock or an unconsolidated deposit is called an aquifer when it can yield a usable quantity of water. The depth at which soil pore spaces or fractures and voids in rock...

 level of the surrounding area, making it unsuitable for agriculture. However a shallow water table lowered in desert arroyo valley
In geology, a valley or dale is a depression with predominant extent in one direction. A very deep river valley may be called a canyon or gorge.The terms U-shaped and V-shaped are descriptive terms of geography to characterize the form of valleys...

s can reduce saline seep
Saline seep
A saline seep is seep of saline water, with an area of alkali salt crystals that form when the salty water reaches the surface and evaporates. Various types of water movement form saline seeps, including capillary action from a water table under the surface, and a water table being brought to the...

ing and alkali
In chemistry, an alkali is a basic, ionic salt of an alkali metal or alkaline earth metal element. Some authors also define an alkali as a base that dissolves in water. A solution of a soluble base has a pH greater than 7. The adjective alkaline is commonly used in English as a synonym for base,...

 deposits in the topsoil
Topsoil is the upper, outermost layer of soil, usually the top to . It has the highest concentration of organic matter and microorganisms and is where most of the Earth's biological soil activity occurs.-Importance:...

, making it suitable for irrigated farming.


In the U.S. state
U.S. state
A U.S. state is any one of the 50 federated states of the United States of America that share sovereignty with the federal government. Because of this shared sovereignty, an American is a citizen both of the federal entity and of his or her state of domicile. Four states use the official title of...

 New Mexico
New Mexico
New Mexico is a state located in the southwest and western regions of the United States. New Mexico is also usually considered one of the Mountain States. With a population density of 16 per square mile, New Mexico is the sixth-most sparsely inhabited U.S...

, the Doña Ana County
Doña Ana County, New Mexico
-2010:Whereas according to the 2010 U.S. Census Bureau:*74.1% White*1.7% Black*1.5% Native American*1.1% Asian*0.1% Native Hawaiian or Pacific Islander*3.0% Two or more races*18.5% Other races*65.7% Hispanic or Latino -2000:...

 Drainage Ordinance defines an arroyo as "a watercourse
A watercourse is any flowing body of water. These include rivers, streams, anabranches, and so forth.-See also:* physical geography* Environmental flow* Waterway* Hydrology* Wadi-External links:...

 that conducts an intermittent or ephemeral flow, providing primary drainage for an area of land of 40 acres (161,874.4 m²) or larger; or a watercourse which would be expected to flow in excess of one hundred cubic feet per second as the result of a 100 year storm
A storm is any disturbed state of an astronomical body's atmosphere, especially affecting its surface, and strongly implying severe weather...

 event." Research has been conducted in the hydrological modeling
Hydrological transport model
An hydrological transport model is a mathematical model used to simulate river or stream flow and calculate water quality parameters. These models generally came into use in the 1960s and 1970s when demand for numerical forecasting of water quality was driven by environmental legislation, and at...

 relative to arroyos.
Natural arroyos are made through the process known as arroyo-cutting. This occurs in arid regions such as New Mexico, where heavy rains can lead to enlargement of rivers cutting into surrounding rock creating ravines which are dry under normal weather conditions.
It is argued, however, whether these excessively stormy periods are the sole cause of arroyo-cutting as other factors such as long-term climate changes must also be taken into account. Arroyo cutting which occurred in the 1900’s in the southwestern United States caused serious farming issues such as a lowered water table and the destruction of agriculture and grazing lands. Continuing studies are being done to better determine the natural causes of arroyo-cutting.


In agriculture
Agriculture is the cultivation of animals, plants, fungi and other life forms for food, fiber, and other products used to sustain life. Agriculture was the key implement in the rise of sedentary human civilization, whereby farming of domesticated species created food surpluses that nurtured the...

 areas in climates needing irrigation, farmer
A farmer is a person engaged in agriculture, who raises living organisms for food or raw materials, generally including livestock husbandry and growing crops, such as produce and grain...

s traditionally relied on small constructed arroyos, zanjas or aqueduct
An aqueduct is a water supply or navigable channel constructed to convey water. In modern engineering, the term is used for any system of pipes, ditches, canals, tunnels, and other structures used for this purpose....

 channels and ditches for the distribution of water.

An example of larger constructed arroyos is in Albuquerque, New Mexico
Albuquerque, New Mexico
Albuquerque is the largest city in the state of New Mexico, United States. It is the county seat of Bernalillo County and is situated in the central part of the state, straddling the Rio Grande. The city population was 545,852 as of the 2010 Census and ranks as the 32nd-largest city in the U.S. As...

. There are several miles of open-air concrete
Concrete is a composite construction material, composed of cement and other cementitious materials such as fly ash and slag cement, aggregate , water and chemical admixtures.The word concrete comes from the Latin word...

 lined drainage channels that drain an area into the main North Diversion Channel, a tributary
A tributary or affluent is a stream or river that flows into a main stem river or a lake. A tributary does not flow directly into a sea or ocean...

 of the Rio Grande
Rio Grande
The Rio Grande is a river that flows from southwestern Colorado in the United States to the Gulf of Mexico. Along the way it forms part of the Mexico – United States border. Its length varies as its course changes...

 joining upstream of Albuquerque. After the San Juan Project Water Treatment Plant here, the Rio Grande's flow exceeding that needed for the river's silvery minnow habitat
* Habitat , a place where a species lives and grows*Human habitat, a place where humans live, work or play** Space habitat, a space station intended as a permanent settlement...

 is available for municipal water supply diversion. Signs are posted at the constructed arroyos warning to keep out due to danger of flash flood
Flash flood
A flash flood is a rapid flooding of geomorphic low-lying areas—washes, rivers, dry lakes and basins. It may be caused by heavy rain associated with a storm, hurricane, or tropical storm or meltwater from ice or snow flowing over ice sheets or snowfields...

The Arroyo Seco
Arroyo Seco (Los Angeles County)
The Arroyo Seco, meaning "dry stream" in Spanish, is a seasonal river, canyon, watershed, and cultural area in Los Angeles County, California, United States. The Arroyo Seco has been called the most celebrated canyon in Southern California.-River course:...

 and Los Angeles River
Los Angeles River
The Los Angeles River is a river that starts in the San Fernando Valley, in the Simi Hills and Santa Susana Mountains, and flows through Los Angeles County, California, from Canoga Park in the western end of the San Fernando Valley, nearly southeast to its mouth in Long Beach...

 are more famous examples in Southern California
Southern California
Southern California is a megaregion, or megapolitan area, in the southern area of the U.S. state of California. Large urban areas include Greater Los Angeles and Greater San Diego. The urban area stretches along the coast from Ventura through the Southland and Inland Empire to San Diego...

of former natural arroyo seasonal watercourses that became constructed open drainage system arroyos.
The source of this article is wikipedia, the free encyclopedia.  The text of this article is licensed under the GFDL.