SRP Closes Parts Of Arizona Canal For Maintenance

By Austin Fast
Published: Saturday, January 9, 2021 - 5:00pm

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SRP Canal Dry Up
SRP is responsible for keeping its canal system in operating condition during normal water deliveries. Canal dry-ups allow SRP to perform construction and maintenance activities in and around the canals.

SRP is starting annual maintenance on parts of the Arizona Canal, meaning sections will be closed to cyclists and pedestrians through early February. 

From Jan. 8 through Feb. 7, the Arizona Canal will be closed from Seventh Street in Sunnyslope to 43rd Avenue along the Glendale-Phoenix border.

SRP uses weed-eating, white amur fish to control aquatic vegetation in its 131-mile canal system, so crews will first herd and relocate any fish from this stretch of canal. They'll then drain the water, which will allow workers to repair gates, patch concrete and remove silt. Crews will also use the dry-up to look for evidence of invasive adult quagga mussels.

Spokesperson Patty Garcia-Likens said the annual dry-ups reveal all sorts of strange human debris, ranging from cars to bank safes.

“It's really kind of interesting what people decide to dump, but what they don't understand is they're messing with the delivery system that brings water to their homes," Garcia-Likens said. "we always tell people please don't dump anything in the canal. Let's keep it safe and clean, so that we do have a reliable delivery of water."

Anyone can report debris they spot in SRP canals to 602-236-3333.

SRP will also close the Arizona Canal near the Arizona Biltmore and along Indian School Road until Jan. 22 to fight off infestations of caddisfly larvae. These areas have been experiencing uncharacteristically high populations of these mothlike insects, so crews will use power washers to steam-clean the canal lining. This means the canal trail from 24th to 32nd streets and from 48th to 56th streets will be closed for two weeks. 

A small number of SRP’s irrigation customers along the north side of the canal will not receive water during the dry-up, but otherwise Garcia-Likens does not anticipate any disruptions to service.

Garcia-Likens said SRP has been doing these dry-ups for as long as anyone there can remember and likely in some form since 1903 to continue delivering water, particularly during droughts. Despite the stretch of dry weather Phoenix experienced through 2020, SRP's six reservoirs currently contain more water than they did a year ago. 

"This is what our system was built to do. It was built to collect the water during the wet periods, so that we can make it through the dry periods. And that's exactly what it's doing for us right now," Garcia-Likens said. "We live in a desert, and every drop is precious."

SRP canal dry up 2021