What's being done to secure our water future?
SRP has been managing the Valley's water supplies for nearly 120 years. Throughout that time, drought preparedness has been a top priority. We've developed water storage reservoirs, high-capacity groundwater wells and new programs to encourage underground water storage.
SRP, Valley cities, the Arizona Department of Water Resources and Central Arizona Project continue to strengthen the region against the impacts of drought and climate change. Together, we’re making sure there is enough water – not just for today, but for the future as well.
Planning for drought
Each year, our hydrologists create operations models as though we are about to enter a period of drought. Because of our calculated modeling, SRP reservoirs have been, and continue to be, carefully maintained.
In fact, even after a dismal 2018 winter, the amount of water stored in our reservoirs is greater than roughly two-thirds of the years since 1950.
Securing new water supplies
SRP and the Gila River Indian Community have worked together to bring renewable water supplies to central Arizona. Through the Gila River Water Storage project, 30,000 acre-feet of CAP water is available for 100-year leases. Up to 2 million acre-feet of CAP water is also being stored to earn long-term storage credits. Together, these supplies equal 50,000 acre-feet per year of renewable water supplies for the next 100 years.
Another 100,000 acre-feet of CAP water is available to help during dry years over the next 15 years.
In 2005, SRP acquired C.C. Cragin Reservoir, a 15,000-acre-foot reservoir located on East Clear Creek. This reservoir serves as a water source for Payson, northern Gila County communities, Indian water settlements and SRP customers.
Restoring our forests
Most of the water that flows into SRP's reservoirs comes from forests in northern Arizona. It’s estimated that 80% of forests are choked with vegetation, putting them – and our water supply – at risk. Thick brush and overcrowded trees can lead to uncontrollable wildfires, which can contaminate our water supply with ash and debris.
Together with the U.S. Forest Service, U.S. Bureau of Reclamation, Arizona Commerce Authority, and the Arizona Department of Forestry and Fire Management, SRP has created an ambitious plan to strategically thin and restore up to 818,000 acres of forests in northern Arizona – the largest effort of its kind in the country. This work is critical not only to the health of forest ecosystems but also to the Valley's water supply.
Investing in new technology
SRP is exploring how to develop new water supplies and stretch existing supplies further. We're putting new technologies in place, such as automated devices that can better measure and control water deliveries; improving well drilling and aquifer management techniques; promoting smart irrigation controllers to cut outdoor water use; and looking into desalination (the process of removing salt from salt water) opportunities.
The cities of Chandler and Glendale are partnering with SRP on a pilot program to test a new smart water sensor. The sensor sends real-time data to an app where users can check their water usage. If a leak is detected, the app will send an alert. This technology could help people better manage their water use and find and fix leaks quickly.
SRP is also working with the University of Arizona to complete a comprehensive analysis of water and energy use in data centers. The research includes interviews and an analysis of customer-supplied energy and water data. Water and energy data are also being correlated with weather data, which helps SRP see seasonal patterns. Through this project, SRP can create meaningful metrics for water and energy use and uncover new ways to conserve in Arizona.
Through efforts like these, SRP is working to keep our region at the forefront of water resource management. We’re making sure that Arizonans will have enough water to live, work and play – even in times of drought.