Peoria, AZ is a flat terrain with a gentle slope to it. When heavy rain fall and melted snow would flow from the mountains it would often ruin all the hard work that took the pioneers months to complete. The pioneers found a way to use this water in a controlled manner which resulted in irrigation. “In 1868, John W. “Jack” Swilling organized a group of men to dig the first modern irrigation ditch in the Salt River Valley.” By 1972 they had created eight thousand acres of land under refinement and a fast growing community had been built along the Salt River. Over the next three years, three canal companies were created, The Maricopa, the Grand and the Salt River Valley. The canal company later chose William John Murphy to take head construction on the 41 mile canal. Though they were unable to pay Murphy in cash they offered him a large portion of land and water rights. Murphey had a great vision of what could be done and he accepted; in 1885 the Arizona Canal was completed.