Human endeavors move 7x more volume of earth than the world’s rivers accelerating the removal of Earth’s soil surface. Measuring anthropogenic acceleration of soil erosion requires knowledge of natural rates through the study of 10Be, but same-watershed comparisons between anthropogenically-accelerated and natural erosion rates do not exist for urbanizing watersheds. Here I show that urban sprawl from 1989 to 2013 accelerated soil erosion between 1.3x and 15x above natural rates for different urbanizing watersheds in the metropolitan Phoenix region, Sonoran Desert, USA, and that statistical modeling a century of urban sprawl indicates an acceleration of only 2.7x for the Phoenix region. Based on studies of urbanization’s erosive effects, and studies comparing other land-use changes to natural erosion rates, we expected a greater degree of urban acceleration. Given that continued urban expansion will add a new city of a million every five days until 2050, given the potential importance of urban soils for absorbing anthropogenically-released carbon, and given the role of urban-sourced pollution, quantifying urbanization’s acceleration of natural erosion in other urban settings could reveal important regional patterns. For example, a comparison of urban watersheds to nearby non-urban watersheds suggests that the Phoenix case study is on the low-end of the urban acceleration factor. This new insight into the urban acceleration of soil erosion in metropolitan Phoenix can help reduce the acute risk of flooding for many rapidly urbanizing desert cities around the globe. To reduce this risk, properly engineered Flood Control Structures must account for sediment accumulation as well as flood waters. While the Phoenix area used regional data from non-urban, non-desert watersheds to generate sediment yield rates, this research presents a new analysis of empirical data for the Phoenix metropolitan region, where two regression models provide estimates of a more realistic sediment accumulation for arid regions and also urbanization of a desert cities. The new model can be used to predict the realistic sediment accumulation for helping provide data where few data exists in parts of arid Africa, southwest Asia, and India.