Runoff release flooding Phoenix-area streets, likely to last for while
PHOENIX – The number of Phoenix-area roads forced closed by runoff from reservoirs is growing and could last for a while, a spokesman for the utility company releasing the water said.
The state’s largest public utility, Salt River Project, has been letting out water from Granite Reef Dam and Bartlett and Horseshoe lakes since last weekend.
The snowmelt-created water has rushed down the Salt River and into the Valley, pooling in river bottom streets east and west.
“We’re anticipating that we’re going to be spilling water into the Salt River through the Valley for several more days,” SRP spokesman Jeff Lane he told KTAR News 92.3 FM on Wednesday, adding, it could also be weeks.
The company began releasing the water Friday, when the lakes reached over 90 percent capacity. Runoff flowed through Tempe Town Lake at a rate of 5,000 cubic feet per second.
“We’ve cut back [now] on how much we’re putting over Granite Reef,” Lane said, by about half.
Plenty of snow remained in the state’s higher elevations, and with temperatures warming, melting will continue.
More storms in the forecast will speed up the releases in the near future and the flow will be higher volume again, Lane said.
“We’re capturing water and storing it for dry years and if we have to release it through the Salt River, we’re recharging the aquifer,” he said.
“It’s all good.”
Maricopa County Department of Transportation listed the affected streets:
- McKellips Road, both directions from Loop 202 to Alma School Road, Mesa
- 91st Avenue from Broadway Road to Southern Avenue, Phoenix
- 67th Avenue between Broadway Road and Southern Avenue, Phoenix
- El Mirage Road between Indian Spring and Southern Avenue, Avondale
- Needle Rock Road from Forest Road to Box Bar Road, Tonto National Forest
- Gilbert Road is reduced to one lane in each direction from Thomas Road to Beeline Highway, Mesa
KTAR News 92.3 FM’s Jim Cross contributed to this report.