Salt River Project had to increase water release from the Bartlett and Horse Shoe lakes Tuesday as rainwater filled the reservoirs there.
SRP has been conducting water releases since early February to make room for snow melt, but storms in the last two days have caused the utility to take actions to protect its reservoirs and dams.
“This has been a rather rare experience,” says Charlie Ester, manager of surface water resources at SRP. “We've been in such a long drought period. Last time we had releases from the Verde was in 2010 which was the last time the reservoir system was full.”
Ester said early Tuesday water releases from the Verde would be increased to 8,000 cubic feet per second. By the end of the day, SRP updated that figure, saying 22,000 cubic feet per second would be released to keep up with rainfall. The release would be slowed down by tomorrow.
Heavy rainfall is also affecting water levels at Roosevelt Lake which was 34 percent full in December and is now 60 percent full, according to SRP.
As a result of the increased water release, residents will see the usually dry Salt River bed flowing, and the McKellips and Gilbert Roads will be flooded and closed to traffic.
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