SRP releases water from Bartlett Dam on the Verde River northeast of Phoenix to make room for more expected runoff in coming weeks. (Photo courtesy of SRP)
Water from the Salt River flows over Tempe Town Lake Dam on March 22, 2023. (Photo by Drake Presto/Cronkite News)
Phon D. Sutton Road is blocked due to flooding near the Granite Reef Diversion Dam on March 22, 2023. (Photo by Drake Presto/Cronkite News)
Water from the Salt River flows over West McKellips Road on March 22, 2023. (Photo by Drake Presto/Cronkite News)
Flooding blocks West McKellips Road from North Alma School Road to Loop 202 on March 22, 2023. (Photo by Drake Presto/Cronkite News)
Signage blocks off West McKellips Road at the intersection with North Alma School Road due to flooding along the Salt River on March 22, 2023. (Photo by Drake Presto/Cronkite News)
The Granite Reef Diversion Dam diverts water from the Salt River into the Arizona and South canals on March 22, 2023. (Photo by Drake Presto/Cronkite News)
PHOENIX – Recent storms have led Salt River Project, the utility that provides water and power to more than 2 million people in central Arizona, to increase its water releases from two reservoirs on the Verde River.
Verde reservoirs are already 83% full, which necessitated Wednesday’s releases, according to an SRP press release, which noted the reservoir system needs to be able to accommodate runoff expected in the coming weeks.
The releases, which originate from Bartlett Dam, have led to some flooding and road closures in the area. Travelers are advised to check AZ511.gov for the latest road closure information.
“SRP will continue to monitor the watershed and reservoir system to make sure we have adequate storage space available to manage the snowmelt from the watershed,” Charlie Ester, manager of SRP Water Management, said in a statement.
“While we are grateful for the water that will allow us to store for future years, we also have to ensure there is enough available storage to safely manage all this snow and rain,” the statement said. “We also want to remind everyone to be safe around flooded roadways and be aware of the hazards of recreating on or near the rivers.”