SRP Begins Water Releases into Salt River
Unbridged River Crossings Likely to be Closed after Heavy Storm Inflows
Because of heavy rainfall early this morning into Canyon Lake and the potential of more storm-related precipitation today and tonight, Salt River Project has started releasing water from Stewart Mountain Dam and Granite Reef Diversion Dam into the normally dry Salt River.
The water releases, increased from 2,000 cubic feet per second (cfs) to 48,000 cfs this morning at Stewart Mountain Dam before being reduced, are expected to reach the unbridged Salt River crossings at Gilbert and McKellips roads early this afternoon and likely will lead to road closures before rush-hour traffic later this afternoon.
SRP has notified Valley law enforcement agencies of the water releases and the potential that they could continue this afternoon or evening as the remnants of Tropical Depression Lorena move through the Valley. Local residents are urged to not recreate in or near the Salt River bed and avoid flooded, low-flow crossings as these releases can be extremely hazardous with strong and debris-filled currents.
Today’s water release from Granite Reef Dam, which is located just west of the confluence of the Salt and Verde rivers near Mesa, is the first since SRP discontinued winter spills on April 1. More than 100,000 acre-feet of Verde River water was spilled into the Salt River through the Valley this winter.
During a productive runoff season from January through May, SRP received more than 1.1 million acre-feet of water into its six reservoirs on the Salt and Verde rivers – the second runoff season in the last three years with above-median snowmelt and precipitation.
The combined Salt and Verde system today is at 69 percent of capacity, up from 47 percent one year ago.
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SRP is a community-based, not-for-profit public power utility and the largest provider of electricity in the greater Phoenix metropolitan area, serving more than 1 million customers. SRP is also the metropolitan area’s largest supplier of water, delivering about 800,000 acre-feet annually to municipal, urban and agricultural water users.