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Managing water in the desert

SRP has provided a reliable supply of water to metropolitan Phoenix for more than a century. As the region has grown, SRP's strategies have adapted.

Managing the Valley’s water resources is a big job, and SRP’s water engineers are experts in their fields. From working to protect three watersheds that are key, to forging partnerships, our experts use a variety of management techniques.

But our work is never done. SRP continues that work today — a constant drive to ensure water reliability for the next 100 years. Here’s how we’re doing it.

"Integrated sustainable water resource management is an area requiring innovation, progress, and international cooperation in the coming decades." View source

Moving forward together

As Arizona continues to grow, and the need for water along with it, collaboration with municipalities, Native American communities and our customers has and will continue to be an essential component of managing our water supply.

SRP actively works with stakeholders throughout Arizona to address concerns about water supplies, identify alternative supply options to meet demands, and collaborate on programs to resolve water resource conflicts.

Collaboration and protection of water rights

Maintaining and protecting the water rights of the Greater Phoenix area is multifaceted and is an integral part of our water stewardship responsibility.

As part of this responsibility, we actively participate in:

  • Rural water planning groups,
  • Regional water planning studies,
  • Water measurement activities, and
  • Developing new water supplies such as the C.C. Cragin Reservoir.

The legal aspects of water rights are complicated by decades old laws that give rights to aboveground and underground water supplies, which is further complicated by the interconnection of those supplies. SRP and its shareholders have some of the most extensive senior water rights on the Salt and Verde river watersheds. SRP works to maintain the legal rights that protect the Phoenix metropolitan area's water supply.

In addition, we've pursued the following unique agreements that have added to the water supply:

  • An agreement with the Gila River Indian Community designed to make several million acre-feet of water supplies available to water users in central Arizona.
  • The SRP-CAP Interconnect Facility, SRP’s interconnect facility with the Central Arizona Project (CAP) canal system, makes Colorado River water a viable supplement to the Greater Phoenix area's water supply.

Supplies for the future

As a leader in water management, we have continued to evolve our strategies and practices to maintain a reliable and resilient water supply for today and far into the future. Our continued rapid adoption of new technology, innovative water management techniques and conservation programs have laid the groundwork.

Our 2035 Sustainability Goals include six distinct targets to ensure water resiliency.

By using the latest technology and management techniques, we have:

Storing water: Beyond reservoirs

In addition to the water contained in the seven reservoirs SRP manages, we have developed two underground storage facilities that take advantage of the natural process for recharging aquifers . This process, often referred to as water banking, allows the storage of excess Colorado River and surface water for future use.

Through artificial groundwater recharge, water is retained in huge, porous earthen basins and allowed to seep into the natural underground aquifer below. View a diagram that illustrates how water is captured and stored.

Underground storage projects

Safe yield is the equilibrium between the amount of groundwater pumped from an aquifer and the amount recharged into it.

The Granite Reef Underground Storage Project (GRUSP) and the New River-Agua Fria River Underground Storage Project (NAUSP) were developed through partnerships with nine cities to store water from a variety of sources. GRUSP and NAUSP enable Arizona to maximize the use of its Colorado River entitlement and help the state reach its safe yield goal .

GRUSP facts

Construction: Original four basins completed in 1994; additional basins completed in 1999, 2000 and 2005
Partners: Operated by SRP; owned by Salt River Pima-Maricopa Indian Community, SRP, Chandler, Gilbert, Phoenix, Mesa, Scottsdale and Tempe
Water sources: Water from the Salt and Verde rivers, Central Arizona Project water via the South Canal, and reclaimed water via pipeline from Mesa water reclamation facility
Number of basins: Seven
Surface area (approximate): 197 acres
Storage capacity: 93,000 acre-feet per year permitted
Location: On Salt River Pima-Maricopa Indian Community land, in the Salt River bed just west of SRP's Granite Reef Diversion Dam
Distinction: First major recharge facility in the state.

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NAUSP facts

Construction: Completed in 2007
Partners: Operated by SRP; owned by SRP and Avondale, Chandler, Glendale and Peoria
Water source: Water from the Salt and Verde rivers, Central Arizona Project water via the Grand Canal, and reclaimed water via pipelines from Glendale and Peoria water reclamation facilities
Number of basins: Six off-channel basins
Surface area (approximate): 125 acres
Storage capacity: 75,000 acre-feet per year permitted
Location: In Glendale, about 1 mile west of University of Phoenix Stadium
Distinction: First major recharge facility in the West Valley

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