PHOENIX (3TV/CBS5) -- A weak monsoon has left many parts of Arizona in a drought, and the Game and Fish Department is working to ensure wild animals don't die of dehydration.
"We've been really going at it to try to keep these catchments with water in them for the wildlife to survive," said Arizona Game and Fish Habitat Program manager Joseph Currie.
About 26% of Arizona is included in the severe drought designation and 82% of the state is in moderate or severe drought.
Normally, water catchments built by Game and Fish act as artificial watering holes, catching rain and filling up with water. But the lack of rain has meant the agency has had to truck in water to refill the catchments drained by wildlife. They even fly it in via helicopter to the most remote catchments. "We don't want to be in the water hauling business, but that's just the nature of it because it's not raining," Currie said.
The agency has transported more than 250,000 gallons of water since the beginning of the year to the 3,000 catchments across the state. Normally Game and Fish will stop hauling water toward the end of the summer, but the dry monsoon has meant there's no end in sight. They anticipate they'll haul around 800,000 gallons of water by the end of the year. The program costs around $1 million per year, and relies heavily on volunteers and donations from the public.
If you'd like to help, you can text “SENDWATER” to 41444 from any smartphone or you can go here to donate.