Arizona Waterways to Bank Heavy Snow Runoff

by Glenn Minnis


With a change of season all but here, officials at public utility Salt River Project have commenced low-level water releases from a nearby reservoir to make room for snowmelt runoff.

With SRP reservoirs along the Verde River nearing capacity after a busy winter storm season, a low-level release of water from the Bartlett Dam is set to kick in, with the primary goal being to create additional storage capacity and provide maximum flexibility for the upcoming and continued snowmelt and runoff season, the agency said.

“SRP monitors the watershed and reservoir system year-round to ensure a reliable supply for the Valley,” Manager of SRP Water Management Charlie Ester said in a press release. “This winter has proven to be a productive year for the watershed, which is good news as SRP is able to store the water for future years.”

Over the coming days, the water is expected to become visible as it flows through the normally dry Salt River, prompting the planned closure of McKellips Road in the East Valley. This marks the first water release since 2019. They are expected to continue through March.

Over time, SRP officials will move to strategically release water from the dams on the Salt and Verde rivers into a series of the canal, satisfying the water needs across the Valley. Ultimately, much of this water will flow downstream in the Salt River and recharge the aquifer, which helps Valley cities and water providers.

Recent SRP surveys have concluded that snowpack on the 13,000-square-mile watershed that replenishes the Verde River reservoirs is the second deepest it has been over the last three decades, with officials now working on increasing the storage capacity for the Verde River reservoir system over the next 10 years.

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Glenn Minnis is a contributor to The Center Square. 
Photo “Salt River” by Bernard Gagnon. CC BY-SA 3.0.


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