Each fall and winter, portions of SRP's major canals north and south of the Salt River are dried up for about a month, each side separately, so construction and maintenance work can be done. During the dry-up, trash and debris are cleaned from the canals.
In some cases during dry-ups, both banks of a canal will be closed temporarily to the public to allow for required maintenance. These closures are to ensure public safety while work occurs.
SRP performs dry-ups on a rotating seven-year schedule.
Dry-ups are performed annually on canal sections south of the Salt River annually between mid-November and mid-December and on the north side of the Salt River between early January and early February.
Scheduled southside canal dry-ups
- Nov. 20 – Dec. 20, 2015: Tempe Canal from west of County Club Drive to west of Alma School Road; Western Canal 1/2 mile south of Guadalupe Road to east of 56th Street; Western Canal from 48th Street to 7th Street.
Scheduled northside canal dry-ups
- Jan. 8 – Feb. 7, 2016: Grand Canal from Thomas Road to McKellips Road; Grand Canal from 43rd Avenue to 75th Avenue.
You can also view a map detailing the seven-year canal dry-up plan. This map is for illustrative purposes and is subject to change without notice. For the most recent canal dry-up information, contact SRP Water Transmission at (602) 236-5461.
Why dry-ups are necessary
SRP is responsible for keeping its canal system in operating condition during normal water deliveries. Canal dry-ups allow SRP as well as other utilities and municipalities to perform construction and maintenance activities in and around the canals.
Portions of the canals are lined with a cement-like protective covering to help minimize water loss through seepage into the ground. More than half of the 131-mile system has been lined.
Local governments use the dry-up periods to do roadwork near the canals and to build or improve bridges over the canals.
Recreation restrictions and safety
Recreational use of the canal banks is restricted during dry-ups. In some cases both banks of the canal will be closed to the public to allow for required SRP maintenance.
For their safety, people who use the canal banks for recreational activities should note the increased construction and maintenance activities along the canal banks during dry-ups.
Under no circumstances should residents enter the canals. Posted warning signs should be obeyed.