As Roosevelt Lake fills, SRP's annual spill gate test to release more water than usual

By Ron Dungan
Published: Tuesday, May 9, 2023 - 8:40am
Updated: Wednesday, May 10, 2023 - 2:00pm

Roosevelt Dam spillway test
A previous test of the spill gates at Theodore Roosevelt Dam.

Snowmelt from Arizona’s high country has pushed Roosevelt Lake to record levels.

The water has backed up so far that Salt River Project has scheduled its annual test of the dam’s infrastructure for Wednesday.

Although the rising levels have not threatened nearby homes, they have affected wildlife habitat and triggered a federal requirement to release water downstream.

SRP regularly tests the spill gates at Roosevelt Dam to assess its ability to respond to flooding, but this year’s discharge will send about 2,000 acre-feet of water or about 650 million gallons of water downstream in Apache Lake and will last more than an hour.

“The U.S. Bureau of Reclamation, they own the dams and part of their operating procedure is that we test these gates at least once a year, actually open them up and operate them,” said Buck Phelps, of SRP.

The utility says that high country snowpack is the deepest it has been in three decades.

EDITOR'S NOTE: The story has been updated to correct the amount of water discharged to Apache Lake. 

Utilities Water