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 dry-ups
- November-December: Tempe Canal from west of Horne to west of Country Club Drive; from Alma School Road to Western Canal junction; and Western Canal from Price Road to west of Rural Road
- 2015: Western Canal from 7th Street to east of 48th Street and from east of 56th Street to approximately 1/2 mile south of Guadalupe Road; Tempe Canal from west of Alma School Road to west of Country Club Drive
Scheduled northside dry-ups
- January-February 2015: Arizona Canal from 59th to 51st avenues and the Grand Canal from 43rd Avenue to 24th Street
- 2016: Grand Canal from 75th to 43rd avenues
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
Herding white amur during a canal dry-up.
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.