Managing water in an arid region like the Salt River Project (SRP) service area is no small feat. With a history of over a century in providing water to the Valley, SRP, led by the elected Board of Directors, and Council, understands the critical importance of safeguarding Arizona’s water supply for current and future generations. This webpage will shed light on the state of water in the SRP service area and highlight our common sense proactive measures on the board, and the council, to ensure a sustainable water supply for municipal use, urban irrigation, and farming.
Managing Drought and Building Resilience:
Drought is a recurring challenge in the arid Southwest, and SRP has been actively managing and planning for it. Studies of tree rings have shown that long dry periods with intermittent “spike years” are normal in the region. The current drought cycle, which began in the mid-1990s, is reported to be the most severe in over 1,200 years. Despite this, we have pursued strategies to mitigate the impacts of drought and ensure a reliable water supply.
Capturing and Storing Water:
We understand the importance of SRP capturing and storing water during wet years to ensure availability during dry periods. In addition to managing seven reservoirs, SRP has developed two underground storage projects: the Granite Reef Underground Storage Project (GRUSP) and the New River-Agua Fria River Underground Storage Project (NAUSP). These projects involve storing water in underground aquifers through a process known as water banking. During wet years, excess water is stored underground, and during dry years, this stored water can be utilized to meet the water demands of the region.
Monitoring Water Quality:
Maintaining high water quality is crucial for the well-being of the community. SRP actively monitors water quality in rivers, canals, and wells within its service area to identify patterns and potential sources of pollution. Water delivered to farmers, irrigators, parks, and cities is treated before reaching homes, schools, and businesses. Regular testing and computer modeling help ensure that water quality standards are met, and appropriate measures are taken to control nitrate levels, making the water safe for consumption.
Preserving Forest Health:
Healthy forests play a vital role in water supply as they act as natural storage and filtration systems. We recognize the significance of forest health in maintaining a sustainable water supply for SRP shareholders. Through collaborations with the U.S. Forest Service and other partners, SRP actively participates in strategic forest thinning projects to reduce the risk of wildfires and protect water sources. Supporting the SRP Healthy Forest Initiative™ allows individuals to contribute to the preservation of healthy forests and the protection of water resources.
Planning for the Future:
We acknowledge that SRP is just one part of the larger water mix in the region, which includes supplies from Valley cities and the Central Arizona Project (CAP). To ensure future water needs are met, it is important that SRP collaborates with these organizations and the Arizona Department of Water Resources to plan and develop strategies for long-term water sustainability. The conjunctive management of surface water and groundwater supplies by SRP helps maintain a reliable water supply, even during extended dry periods.
Protecting Water Rights and Collaboration:
We recognize the importance of protecting SRP shareholders water rights to ensure the water supply for the Greater Phoenix area. Active participation by SRP in rural water planning groups, regional water planning studies, water measurement activities, and new water supply development projects helps safeguard water rights and secure the region’s water supply. It is also very important that SRP continue to collaborate with Valley cities, the Central Arizona Project, and the Arizona Department of Water Resources further strengthen water protection initiatives.
Water resiliency is at the core of our leadership mission for SRP. With a responsibility to oversee SRP’s management over 8.3 million acres of watersheds, seven dams, and an extensive canal network, we are dedicated to ensuring a safe, reliable, and resilient water supply. Through SRP’s partnerships with tribal entities, municipalities, and the communities it serves, we encourage SRP to continuously explore new conservation strategies and water resources to enhance water resiliency.
Progress and Goals:
UWe are pleased that SRP has made significant progress in its water management efforts. Achievements include a reduction in water intensity (gallons/MWh) and substantial water storage, with 99% completion toward the goal of storing 1 million acre-feet of water supplies by 2035.
Our commitment to SRP’s responsible water management and planning ensures a sustainable and reliable water supply for the SRP service area. By capturing and storing water, monitoring water quality, preserving forest health, and engaging in collaborative efforts, this public utility strives to overcome the challenges posed by drought and secure water resources for the future. With a focus on resilience and innovation, we remain dedicated to SRP’s managing water resources efficiently and protecting the well-being of the community it serves.