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Managing flood irrigation  

SRP has been bringing water to the Valley since 1903. The water you get at home has traveled more than 150 miles from its source high in the mountains. It flows down rivers, into lakes and through canals — and SRP is there at every turn.  

Flood irrigation has long been part of SRP’s history and is an efficient way to get water to plants in your yard. It’s also a great way to grow large canopy trees that can absorb carbon dioxide and provide shade, reducing the heat island effect. It is important to use this precious resource wisely and avoid wasting the water. 

Benefits of irrigation 

The healthy trees and vegetation in flood-irrigated areas result in many benefits: 

  • Flood irrigation contributes to more robust root systems by storing water deeper in the soil for longer periods of time. This allows vegetation to draw water stored in the soil over time and avoids the need for frequent watering, ultimately helping protect the vegetation from drought.  
  • Untreated flood irrigation water from the Salt and Verde rivers provides a nutrient-rich, deep-watering source that evaporates less than water from sprinklers and requires less frequent watering.  
  • Deep watering reduces saline buildup in the soil that could cause damage to landscapes.  
  • Vegetation reduces the urban heat island effect, lowering temperatures by directly shading buildings, which reduces energy use. 
  • Vegetation improves air quality and decreases greenhouse gas emissions while removing air pollutants. 
  • Established vegetation provides aesthetic value, often serves as a habitat for many species and can reduce noise.   

The benefits of flood irrigation span beyond our yards: 

  • Irrigation water comes at an affordable cost for residential, agricultural, municipal and commercial customers.  
  • Municipalities incur lower costs by using flood irrigation for athletic fields and parks instead of installing irrigation systems that use more costly drinking water.  
  • Many urban farmers in the Valley use flood irrigation water to grow locally produced crops that make it to our tables. 

Reducing water waste  

Water is a precious resource and SRP wants to make sure you have the tools you need to flood irrigate effectively and use water efficiently. To avoid flooding, delivery issues and water waste:  

  • Only order the amount of water that is needed to efficiently meet the needs of your landscape and that can be contained on your property.  
  • Irrigation needs may change over time. Adjust water deliveries to meet your needs by evaluating how much water can be contained on your property during a normal irrigation run. Once this has been done, adjust your order to the nearest five-minute increment for that amount. Ordering more water than necessary may result in flooding and property damage. You can modify your order online or call our Water Contact Center at (602) 236-3333.   
  • Ensure berms are in good condition and can contain the irrigation water. Generally, your berms should be twice the height of the level of water you are receiving. 
  • Know your neighborhood system and how it works. You can find a map of your neighborhood online by logging in to your SRP My Account™ profile or by calling us to request one.  
  • Frequently check your neighborhood irrigation system, including any standboxes, ditches, valves and gates, for leaks, debris or damage that could be contributing to water loss or flooding. Water flows more efficiently when the system is well maintained.  
  • Make necessary repairs as soon as an issue is detected. Call us to report an issue or to schedule a dry-up during repairs.  
  • Talk regularly with your neighbors – knowing who has irrigation before and after you can help prevent flooding. Communicate frequently to avoid issues with water deliveries.  
  • Keep your vegetation maintained. Vegetation helps reduce heat by lowering temperatures around your home which also saves energy.  
  • Ensure your yard is properly graded and well-aerated so water can penetrate the soil more effectively.  

If you notice or experience mismanaged water or flooding, please call our Water Contact Center 24/7/365 at (602) 236-3333.

What farmers can do to use flood irrigation more efficiently:  

  • Level fields before planting so water can flow evenly across crops. Flood irrigation relies on gravity, so water might miss parts of fields that have even a small hill.  
  • Practice surge flooding by releasing water at prearranged intervals. This can help reduce unwanted runoff.  
  • Capture runoff water that may be running to the edges or backs of fields. Reuse the runoff water by pumping it back into the field for the next cycle of irrigation.  

Additional tools and resources 

We want to make irrigation as easy as possible. Check out our Flood Irrigation Tools and Equipment Guide for a full overview and glossary of terms with matching visuals. You can also view our SRP Irrigation Overview videos to learn more about our irrigation services, how it works, best practices for working with neighbors and ways to maintain your systems. 

Unsure if your property is being watered efficiently? Meet with an SRP Water Services Liaison for a property assessment and water delivery tips. Call us at (602) 236-3333 to request a meeting.  

More water-saving tips 

Safeguarding the most precious resource in the desert: water 

The water we use every day comes from forests in northern and eastern Arizona. We’re taking action to improve the health of these forests by partnering with organizations and forest product industries to restore damaged areas, thin overgrown forestlands and invest in critical research. A sustainable water supply starts with wildfire prevention. We’re working on solutions that focus on prevention through strategic forest thinning to keep our forests — and our water supply — thriving.  

Protecting Arizona’s water is a big job, and we can’t do it alone. That’s why we’ve partnered with Valley cities and towns, the Central Arizona Project and the Arizona Department of Water Resources to help protect our water. Together, we’re finding more efficient, sustainable and reliable ways to meet the water needs of the future. This includes putting research and innovation to work to safeguard Arizona’s water for today and tomorrow.

Managing water in the desert

SRP plays a critical part in managing Arizona’s water supply. Learn more about SRP’s role to ensure a reliable water supply for future generations.

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