How irrigation works

Flood irrigation is the most cost-effective way to deep water your property. Yards are flooded with 2-3 inches of water, which penetrates the ground within about three hours.

Where does the water come from?

Map of SRP watershed and watershed service area. The 13,000 square mile watershed extends from northwest of Flagstaff to nearly the eastern edge of Arizona, following a line primarily adjacent to the Mogollon Rim.

SRP brings water from the high country to the desert through a system of dams, lakes, canals, laterals, ditches, pipes and valves.

Most of your water originates from SRP's 13,000-square-mile watershed, as rain and snow drain into the Salt and Verde rivers and collect in six lakes.

SRP's system also includes about 267 deep-well pumps throughout the Valley that help supplement our surface water supplies.

From the reservoirs to your yard

Canal water is moved almost entirely by gravity. See infographic

After your water order is placed, we combine it with all other water orders from the Valley and release the requested amount of water from the storage facility. The water then flows into the seven main canals crossing the Valley.

An SRP employee known as a "zanjero" (pronounced sahn-hair'-oh) opens a gate to release the water from the canal into a system of smaller waterways called laterals. Laterals bring the water to a specific delivery point, where a zanjero opens SRP's gate, releasing the water into your neighborhood system.

From there, the system bringing water to your property is made up of open ditches, underground pipelines, control gates and valves. This system is owned, operated and maintained by those who use the system in your neighborhood. It is referred to as the "neighborhood system." You and your neighbors are responsible for making sure all gates and controls are set properly to receive ordered water for the individual properties within your neighborhood.

If you are new to irrigation, the best way to learn about your neighborhood system is to talk to your neighbors. If you prefer, one of SRP's field services liaisons will visit you for a walk-through of your neighborhood and provide a system education. Call to request this free service.

By knowing your neighborhood system and how it works, you will be able to prevent and solve future problems. We encourage you to get to know your neighbors, because successful irrigation is dependent upon neighbors communicating and working together.

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