Normally dry Salt River floods Mesa roadway after planned water release

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Flooding on McKellips Road at Loop 202 from planned SRP water release. (Source: 3TV/CBS 5) Flooding on McKellips Road at Loop 202 from planned SRP water release. (Source: 3TV/CBS 5)
(Source: 3TV/CBS 5) (Source: 3TV/CBS 5)
(Source: 3TV/CBS 5) (Source: 3TV/CBS 5)
(Source: 3TV/CBS 5) (Source: 3TV/CBS 5)
(Source: 3TV/CBS 5) (Source: 3TV/CBS 5)
MESA, AZ (3TV/CBS 5) -

Parts of McKellips Road near Loop 202 in Mesa were underwater Tuesday.

Salt River Project engineers have begun releasing excess water from its two reservoirs on the Verde River.

The Verde River release means the normally dry Salt River will flow through parts of the Valley, according to SRP’s Surface Water Resources Manager Charlie Ester.

Pictures from our news crew showed barricades were erected on part of McKellips Road most affected by the flooding.

[RELATED: SRP says dam & reservoir system ready for major weather event]

The water releases are necessary to create more storage capacity for future runoffs.

SRP in late January released water over Granite Reef Dam into the Salt River for a few days because of local inflows below Stewart Mountain Dam on the Salt River and Bartlett Dam on the Verde River.

The most recent significant water release through the Valley was in January 2010.

Then, on Friday, a low-level spill release of about 500 cubic feet per second was initiated from Bartlett Lake on the Verde River, which is reaching near capacity from snow melt.

[RELATED: Read full SRP statement]

The total Verde River storage system is at 87 percent of capacity, up from 45 percent in mid-December. Horseshoe Lake is currently at 94 percent of capacity and Bartlett Lake is 82 percent full.

SRP said in a statement that the combined Salt and Verde system is at 64 percent of capacity, up from 55 percent one year ago.

There is significantly more storage available on the Salt River, which is 61 percent full.

Theodore Roosevelt Lake, which holds about two-thirds of the water SRP stores, is at 53 percent, up from 35 percent on Dec. 15 and an increase of nearly 500,000 acre-feet since mid-December.

This winter’s storms have been a welcome sight for SRP, which in 2016 saw a sixth consecutive below-median runoff season for the first time in its 119 years of record keeping.

That streak will likely be snapped this winter, according to Ester.

[Google Map: McKellips Road at the Salt River]

Copyright 2017 KPHO/KTVK (KPHO Broadcasting Corporation). All rights reserved.

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