It’s raining again here today. We’re probably coming up to a full week’s worth of rainy days since the start of the year, though I haven’t been counting.
Of more importance than the rain here is the snow in Northern Arizona. Runoff from the snow pack melts into the state’s river system. And that river system, primarily the Salt and Verde rivers, makes up a decent portion of the Valley’s water supply.
There are a series of dams and man-made lakes along the Salt River before it reaches the main part of the Valley. Actual reservoir levels are available through Salt River Project’s website and updated daily.
The Salt River is mostly dry through the Phoenix metropolitan area. Tempe Town Lake is in the Salt River bed but isn’t part of the reservoir system. It’s purely for recreation. For that matter, all of the creek and river beds in the Valley are dry. Unless it rains. Then they kinda look like this for a few days.
That’s New River as it crosses under Union Hills Drive in Peoria, just south of Fletcher Heights and west of Arrowhead Ranch. It’s a dry river bed. Unless it’s not.
All of the reservoirs are connected. If there’s too much water for one to handle, the gates are opened and water’s released to the next one down the line. If there’s too much for the system in general, that’s when problems happen.
Thirty years ago we had 100-year-floods here that wiped out almost every bridge across the Salt River. It happened again the next year. Needless to say, the new generation of bridges is significantly stronger than what was standing in 1978 and 1979.
I promised two rare sights for the Phoenix area and here’s the other one. The Chamber of Commerce may be cringing that the sun’s not out but at least there’s a benefit.