San Carlos Irrigation District works to upgrade canal linings, save water

Published: Monday, January 30, 2023 - 5:22pm
Updated: Tuesday, January 31, 2023 - 10:43am

The San Carlos Irrigation and Drainage District brings water to central Arizona farmers, including some in the Gila River Indian Community.

The district wants to improve its infrastructure in order to save water.

Some canals in the district were created in the late 1800s. Over the years, more canals were added, and in the 1920s, Coolidge Dam was built to help harness the Gila River.

But the older canals are dirt lined, which means that water can seep through the bottom.

The district has been trying to line them with concrete when funding becomes available.

"We would save close to 50,000 acre-feet a year in water that is now currently lost to inefficiency. So I try to, I think it’s a very easy way for everybody to understand, OK, you line a canal, you save water," said Shane Lindstrom, general manager for the district.

He says the district has completed work on 18 miles of canals and is planning the next phase.