The Salt River Valley Water Users' Association delivers nearly 1 million acre-feet of water to a service area in central Arizona. An extensive water delivery system is maintained and operated by the Association, including reservoirs, wells, canals and irrigation laterals.
The Association is the older of SRP's two organizations. It began when a group of early Valley residents searched for an effective means to bring water to their families, farms and communities.
These pioneers tried to irrigate crops with a simple canal system fed by the Salt River. Canal operations were unpredictable. Sometimes the river shrank to a trickle, while other times, the river swelled beyond its banks and washed away a season of hard work.
In 1902, President Theodore Roosevelt signed the National Reclamation Act. The law provided federal loans for construction of reclamation projects in the West. Valley settlers formed the Association in 1903 and pledged their land as collateral for federal government loan to build a massive water storage and delivery system.
The cornerstone of the system, Theodore Roosevelt Dam, was dedicated in 1911, six years after construction began. The dam was rededicated in 1996 following Safety of Dam modifications that added 77 feet of height to the dam and needed conservation and flood control capacity.
As part of its operations, the Association cooperatively manages a 13,000-square-mile "watershed" or natural drainage area in the mountains north and east of metropolitan Phoenix. This watershed feeds the Salt and Verde rivers that flow into the SRP reservoir system. From 1923 to 1946, five more water-storage dams were built along the Salt and Verde rivers to help satisfy the Valley's need for a reliable supply of water.
The duties of the Association increased as more people moved to metropolitan Phoenix. Water-quality monitoring and water conservation became priorities as agricultural needs decreased and urban uses increased.
Today, the Association delivers nearly 1 million acre-feet of water to a 240,000-acre service area in metropolitan Phoenix. The reservoir system feeds an extensive water delivery network comprising 1,265 miles of canals, laterals and smaller channels. This delivery network carries water to municipalities as well as agricultural and urban irrigators.