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Salt River Project - Rehabilitation and Betterment

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General Description| Plan| Development| Benefits

 

General Description

The original irrigation facilities of the Salt River Project are located in the Salt River Valley in Maricopa County, Arizona. The project, one of Reclamation`s first, serves about 240,000 acres of land with a surface-water supply from storage on the Salt and Verde Rivers. Supplemental water is obtained from 250 electrically pumped wells.

Surface water is conserved by six storage dams, four on the Salt River and two on the Verde River, with a combined storage capacity of 2.5 million acre-feet. A diversion dam diverts water to 1,300 miles of canals, laterals, and ditches, which in turn deliver water to farms and cities in a 2,900 square mile service area.

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Plan

The general nature and purpose of the Salt River Project rehabilitation and betterment program was to reduce operation and maintenance costs, improve the irrigation facilities, increase operating efficiency, and conserve available water supplies.

The plan provided for lining certain sections of canals; replacing laterals with underground pipe; repairing and replacing gates, checks, and other irrigation structures; rehabilitating project water wells; and undertaking repair and betterment work on some of the major storage facilities.

Operating Agencies

The system is operated by the Phoenix, Ariz.-based Salt River Project (SRP).  SRP is two entities: the Salt River Project Agricultural Improvement and Power District, a political subdivision of the state of Arizona; and the Salt River Valley Water Users' Association, a private corporation.

The irrigation and drainage system is operated and maintained by the Salt River Valley Water User`s Association. The power system of the project is operated by the Salt River Project Agricultural Improvement and Power District.

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Development

History

Construction of the Salt River Project was begun by the Bureau of Reclamation in 1903. The original features of the Project consisted of Theodore Roosevelt Dam and Powerplant, Granite Reef Diversion Dam, and an improved canal system. These features were installed in 1911. In cooperation with the Bureau of Reclamation, the Salt River Project initiated a rehabilitation and betterment program in 1950. Contracts covering the work under the original program, supplemented by a congressionally approved extended program, were executed annually between the United States and the Salt River Valley Water User`s Association from the time the program was initiated in 1950 until 1958. Beginning July 1, 1958, the rehabilitation and betterment work was covered by a contract through June 30, 1967, with repayable amounts computed for each fiscal year. The contract was extended, and construction was completed in 1980.


Investigations

In 1947, investigations of a rehabilitation and betterment program for the Salt River Project were initiated. Preliminary studies indicated that a complete rehabilitation of the project`s irrigation system and other works would be needed to bring the project up to modern standards. A favorable feasibility report on the program was completed by the Bureau of Reclamation in 1948. The program was reviewed in 1964. A report was prepared recommending continuation of the rehabilitation and betterment work, which was the basis for the program that was completed in 1980.


Authorization

The Salt River Project rehabilitation and betterment program was authorized pursuant to the act of October 7, 1949 (63 Stat. 724), and funds for the start of construction were appropriated in 1950.


Construction

Construction began in 1950 and completed in 1980. The work was performed by the Salt River Valley Water User`s Association, using funds advanced by the Bureau of Reclamation. Plans developed by the association were approved by the Bureau of Reclamation. Work included the lining of 42 miles of canals, 213 miles of laterals, 278 miles of lateral pipelines, and the rehabilitation of 8,259 structures.

Construction work also included about 505,000 square feet of concrete canal lining, 1.5 miles of concrete lateral lining, installation of 1.1 miles of lateral pipelines, and rehabilitation of 20 structures.

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Benefits

Benefits to the Salt River Project from the rehabilitation and betterment program include reduced operation and maintenance costs, water conservation, increased crop production, and the elimination of neighborhood safety hazards.

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Last updated: Nov 19, 2009