WHERE YOUR WATER COMES FROM
The water delivered to your home travels more than 150 miles through mountain and desert terrain before it emerges from your tap.
High in the mountains of northern and eastern Arizona, the water that flows from your tap begins as snowflakes in a winter storm.
When springtime temperatures rise, that snow begins to melt.
And then its journey begins — an adventure through wilderness and forests to an SRP reservoir system that provides water, and life, to our desert community.
Melting snow first collects in small streams as it cascades down mountainsides, flowing into tributaries and then into the Salt and Verde rivers.
SRP hydrologists measure not only the snowpack, but also the flow of water to determine how much water will be available each season. They also determine how much may be needed from other sources, such as groundwater pumped from wells in the Phoenix area.
Water flowing down the Salt River toward the Valley first comes to rest in Roosevelt Lake — the largest reservoir in SRP’s system.
From there the Salt River water passes through Apache, Canyon and Saguaro lakes before it continues its journey through the Lower Salt River. Verde River water passes through Horseshoe and Bartlett lakes.
Water travelling downstream comes to rest in one of SRP’s six desert lakes.
In addition to creating water storage, these lakes provide fishing, camping, boating, swimming and other activities year-round.
The biggest reservoir in SRP’s system, Roosevelt holds 1.6 million acre feet of water when full – enough to meet all of SRP’s demand for two years.
There are 41 miles of shoreline on the 17-mile long Apache Lake, the next reservoir below Roosevelt. The lake is among the most remote on SRP’s system, accessible by dirt road only.
This scenic lake northeast of Apache Junction features towering cliffs and dramatic scenery. Its steady water level and proximity to the East Valley makes it a popular boating, camping and swimming destination.
This popular boating destination is the lowest lake on the Salt River chain. From here, water is released into the lower Salt River on its journey to Greater Phoenix.
Horseshoe Lake is the first reservoir in the Verde River chain and is the first to run dry when water demand dictates; thus the best time to visit is typically in spring. The entire lake is closed to water skiing, parasailing and personal watercraft such as jet-skis.
Bartlett Lake, which is supplied by the Verde River, can hold 178,186 acre-feet of water when full. Horseshoe Lake, the other Verde River reservoir, is dry most summers.
CC Cragin Reservoir
CC Cragin, located on the Mogollon Rim, stores runoff from the East Clear Creek watershed.
The dams serve two purposes: creating reservoirs that ensure we have a reliable water supply and producing hydroelectric power.
The four dams on the Salt River can generate a combined 230 megawatts of power, which is enough to meet the instantaneous demand of 172,000 homes at once. The Verde River dams do not produce hydroelectricity.
Theodore Roosevelt Dam
Once the world’s tallest masonry dam, this structure is named after President Theodore Roosevelt, who dedicated it in 1911. The dam’s hydrogenation units can generate enough electricity to power 8,100 homes.
Horse Mesa Dam
Horse Mesa Dam, which forms Apache Lake, was constructed from 1924-1927. It’s 305 feet high and 660 feet long. Horse Mesa can produce more hydroelectricity than any of the other SRP dams, thanks to its three conventional hydrogenation units, which generate a combined 32 megawatts (MW) of power, and a pumped storage hydroelectric unit rated at 97 MW.
Mormon Flat Dam
This 224-foot high dam, which forms Canyon Lake, generates up to 60 megawatts of power at peak production, enough for 13,500 homes. The rectangular structures on the right are spill gates.
Stewart Mountain Dam
Stewart Mountain Dam forms Saguaro Lake, and is easily visible just past the popular Saguaro Lake Ranch. The dam, which forms Saguaro Lake, was completed in 1930.
Built between 1944 and 1946, Horseshoe Dam was the last built on the Salt and Verde rivers. The reservoir behind it is dry most summers.
Named after Bill Bartlett, a government surveyor, Bartlett Dam was built between 1936-39. The multiple-arch dam is 308.5 feet high and 800 feet long.
Granite Reef Diversion Dam
The purpose of the Granite Reef Diversion Dam is to divert water from the river into the canals north and south of the river for delivery to water users within the Project. No water is stored, and no power is generated at Granite Reef Dam. There are no recreational facilities.
C.C. Cragin Dam
SRP acquired C.C. Cragin Dam from Phelps Dodge Corporation in 2005. The dam creates the beautiful CC Cragin reservoir, a camping, boating and fishing haven on the Mogollon Rim.
After the water leaves the reservoirs, it is released back into the Salt River below Stewart Mountain Dam and the Verde River below Bartlett Dam.
The Salt and Verde rivers converge behind the Granite Reef Diversion Dam. From here SRP can divert this water into its network of canals, where gravity will carry throughout the Phoenix metro area.
Central Arizona Project also intersects SRP at the Granite Reef Diversion Dam, where water can be diverted into the SRP system, providing another way for Colorado River water to reach Valley cities.
The lower Salt River winds from Stewart Mountain Dam to Granite Reef Diversion Dam. Stretches of the Lower Salt are popular with those who float the river on inner tube, or picnic along its banks.
The lower Verde flows year-round as a result of SRP water releases, allowing for a wide diversity of flora and fauna along its banks.
Through a network of 131 miles of canals, SRP delivers water to Valley cities and irrigation customers.
These canals, moving water by gravity, connect to water treatment plants and another 1,000 miles of laterals and ditches that carry water to a variety of irrigation users, including agricultural lands.
Crosscut Canal cuts through north Tempe into south Scottsdale. Improved canal bank trails provide walkers, runners and bicyclists scenic views of Papago Park.
This nearly 50-mile long canal cuts through Peoria, Glendale, Sunnyslope, downtown Scottsdale, Arcadia and the Salt River Pima-Maricopa Indian Community.
Arizona Falls on the Arizona Canal
This popular recreation site on the Arizona Canal, near 56th Street and Indian School Road, features viewing areas to witness water cascading over a natural drop in the SRP canal system. Visitors can take an interactive tour at azfalls.com.
The Grand Canal cuts through Glendale and central Phoenix on its way to its intersection with the Crosscut Canal near Papago Park.
The Consolidated Canal in the southeast Valley serves portions of Gilbert and Chandler. Here, a zanjero opens a gate to allow water to flow into a lateral; smaller canal-like structures that bring water to neighborhoods.
Valley cities accept water from SRP's delivery system at their water treatment plants. SRP’s water system can also deliver other sources of water, including water from SRP wells, the Colorado River and municipal wells. This diversity of sources ensures a reliable water supply is available under a variety of conditions.
City water treatment plants purify the water to ensure it meets all federal and state water quality standards and deliver it via a series of underground pipes directly to your home.
Water enters your home through your municipality's distribution network, providing water for the essentials of daily life.
Outdoor uses consume the largest percentage of SRP water. Some of this is captured by evaporation, which sends water back into the atmosphere where it will fall as rain again elsewhere.
The water you use indoors is recaptured from the drains in your sinks, baths, showers, toilets and washing machines.
Water that goes down any drain in your home is delivered to your community's wastewater treatment system.
The sewage is highly treated to remove solids and impurities. This reclaimed water can be used for beneficial purposes including irrigation for parks and golf courses, at Palo Verde Nuclear Generating Station, for agricultural purposes or to recharge Valley aquifers.