Grand Canyon Water Pipeline In Trouble

October 07, 2013

The funding problems that have shut down the government and Grand Canyon National Park could just be a sign of what’s to come at Arizona’s top tourist attraction.

Park Superintendent Dave Uberuaga says he’s concerned about a ‘catastrophic failure’ of the canyon’s 60-year-old water pipeline, which he says could happen at any time.

Uberuaga says the cost of replacing the pipeline is about $130 million, money the park does not have. The superintendent says the park has been hit by the one-two punch of this year’s sequester and government shutdowns, adding there’s a multi-million-dollar gap between operations and maintenance and that it grows every year.

Uberuaga tells the Arizona Daily Sun he stays up at night worrying about the pipeline, which supplies the South Rim with water from the Colorado River. It broke a record 17 times this year, at a repair cost of $500,000 and he says a complete failure might cost too much for an immediate repair.

If that happened, he says the park would have to send evacuation notices to visitors within a week or so, because of the amount of water needed every day to keep the hotels, village and visitors centers in operation.

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