Salt River Project to release more water to make space in its reservoirs

Salt River Project is releasing more water as another storm is expected to dump heavy rain in metro Phoenix on Tuesday and Wednesday.
Published: Mar. 21, 2023 at 8:22 AM MST
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PHOENIX (3TV/CBS 5) -- The Salt River Project expects to release even more water to make room in its 6 reservoirs ahead of the rain and snow expected to hit the state this week.

“We’re currently releasing to make space in the reservoirs but storms are going to come and we’re gonna have to release even more likely and then monitor throughout the storm to figure out just when to slow the releases or speed them up,” Bo Svoma, a meteorologist with SRP, said.

Right now, SRP’s reservoir system is 95% full compared to this time last year when it was only 71% full. Svoma says there’s “no other choice” but to continue to release water because of the storage capacity at the 6 reservoirs.

“The reservoirs are small on the Verde and they can fill up really quickly so you can’t let the reservoirs get too much water in them or else there’s a safety of dams issue and a big public safety issue at that point,“ Svoma said.

Svoma emphasizes when the company releases this water, it’s not a waste because “the water that’s released and flowing through the normally dry Salt River channel, a lot of it soaks in, and that’s recharging the aquifer that people pump from, cities pump from, and SRP pumps from as another water supply for the Valley.”

SRP officials say the company supplies water to 2.5 million people in the Valley. Svoma says drivers can expect to continue to see road closures for the next few weeks around low water crossings along the Salt River. “There’s going to be elevated water in areas where there’s not usually water so it’s important to be safe and plan your commute accordingly,” Svoma said.