Fill ‘er up! Tempe Town Lake to begin refilling next week

Apr 8, 2016, 3:40 PM | Updated: 3:41 pm

PHOENIX — Water will begin to flow back into Tempe Town Lake next week after a new dam was successfully installed, officials said.

“It’s going to take about two weeks to fill the lake completely,” Kris Baxter-Ging with the city of Tempe. “We will be refilling the lake with more than 880 million gallons of water.”

The water will flow from the Granite Reef Dam, which is located about 15 miles from the lake, through Scottsdale and finally into Tempe through an array of canals.

The filling process is expected to take two weeks.

The lake began draining Feb. 10 so the city could replace a dam. The $47 million project replaces a dam made of rubber bladders that burst a few years ago, flooding nearby areas and emptying the lake.

The refill marks the first time the new dam — the “nation’s largest hydraulically-operated steel gate dam system,” according to Baxter-Ging — will be put to the test.

“There’s 61 tons of concrete that make up the foundation,” she said. “Each one of the eight gates weighs more than 230,000 pounds.”

As the lake begins to fill, fish will be added to the lake.

“Some of them come through the canal system when we enter the water,” Baxter-Ging said. “But we’ve also purchased fish.”

Some of the lake’s fish were treated to a “staycation” in the lake’s marina while the lake sat empty.

“We’ve created a little habitat for the fish,” Baxter-Ging said at the time. “With aeration, they’ll be monitored, they’ll be fed. It’s like a little staycation for them.”

The city expects to add tens of thousands of fish for the lake’s reopening, which is scheduled for April 30.

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Fill ‘er up! Tempe Town Lake to begin refilling next week