Where Central Arizona’s water comes from
Central Arizona’s water supply comes from three main sources — the Colorado River, the Salt and Verde River systems, and groundwater. Its journey to your home began almost 12 decades ago.
On this page:
Bringing water to the Valley since 1903
For more than a hundred years, SRP has provided a reliable water supply to metropolitan Phoenix.
Our work began with one of Arizona's first dams and grew into a system of lakes, rivers, dams and canals that delivers water to millions of residents in the Valley.
Building a diverse, reliable water supply
Over the years, Valley residents, SRP and partnering organizations have invested heavily in the infrastructure necessary to create a resilient water portfolio.
Unlike most U.S. cities, Greater Phoenix has access to four sources of water.
- Water from in-state rivers and streams – SRP manages seven reservoirs that store water from the Salt and Verde rivers and the East Clear Creek watershed. Over half of the water supply in the Phoenix metro area comes from the SRP water system.
- Colorado River water – The Central Arizona Project (CAP) delivers Colorado River water to the Valley. This represents the area's second-largest water supply.
- Reclaimed water – SRP delivers fresh water to cities and towns throughout the Valley. They then treat the water and deliver it to homes and businesses – but that’s just the beginning. “Waste water” gets a second useful life when it’s recaptured, treated and recycled. This recycled water – called reclaimed water – can be used for farming non-edible crops, landscaping and more.
- Groundwater – SRP utilizes a vast ground water pumping system that includes 270 high-capacity wells. Additionally, Valley cities operate large groundwater supply systems.
From our watershed to your home
Ever turn on the faucet and wonder, “Where does the water come from?” Learn how water travels to you and how we manage it along the way.
Approximate number of miles your water travels from the source to your home
How many billion gallons of water we deliver annually, enough to serve 1.6 million homes
The number of reservoirs we manage to provide water to Greater Phoenix
Explore a map of the SRP water delivery system
Get to know the dams, lakes, canals and watersheds in Arizona.
Your tap water begins as rain and snow in the forest
High in the mountains, in the forests of northern and eastern Arizona, lies the SRP watershed.
Made up of 8.3 million acres of protected forestland, the watershed is the source of the water we use every day.
In the winter, snow collects in the forests. In the spring, the snow melts and the journey of your water begins.
See how we manage the watershed.
From the tree canopy to the soil, every part of the forest plays a role in storing, cleaning and enriching the water we drink. That’s why a healthy forest is the key to a sustainable water supply.
Water is captured by dams in reservoirs
Melted snow flows down the mountains and into the Salt and Verde rivers, where it’s carried through a series of lakes.
There are seven lakes in the SRP system that are reservoirs — places to store water.
Water collected in our reservoirs is then released through dams. Dams allow us to control the flow of water so that we can manage floods and store water so that we’re prepared during periods of drought. Dams are also used to generate hydroelectric power. Explore dam and lake management.
Water from reservoirs can be combined with water from the Colorado River and water pumped from underground. Multiple water sources help ensure there’s enough water to meet the Valley’s needs.
Water moves into the city through a system of canals
SRP delivers water throughout the Valley — to cities, farmers and irrigation customers — using a system of canals.
The canals stretch over 131 miles and use gravity to move the water.
They lead to water treatment plants and to smaller waterways called laterals. Laterals are used to carry water to irrigation customers, including farmers. See how we manage and maintain canals.
Water is treated to meet quality standards
Water delivered to city treatment plants is treated to meet water quality standards. Once treated, the water is pumped through underground pipes to your home.
Conservation has been at the heart of our water management strategy for more than a century. See how we’re protecting our water supply.
SRP protects every precious drop
Water is our most valuable resource, and we’re working to ensure its resiliency for years to come.
SRP is involved in several projects and initiatives aimed at water conservation and storage.
Together with Valley municipalities, we’ve developed multiple water banking projects, including the Granite Reef Underground Storage Project (GRUSP), the New River-Agua Fria River Underground Storage Project (NAUSP), and the Groundwater Savings Facility. All have been instrumental in storing water underground for future use.
Learn more about water resource management.