Salt River Project’s network of irrigation canals in the East Valley is going dry.
The utility starts its annual draining Friday, with maintenance and construction activities scheduled for the weeks afterward. Areas affected include Mesa, Tempe, Gilbert, Chandler and south Phoenix.
It won’t be until Dec. 21 when water again flows in the South, Consolidated, Eastern, Tempe, Western and Highline canals, on the Salt River’s south side.
Valley residents who use the canal banks for recreational activities are being warned by SRP to note the increased construction and maintenance activities.
During this “dry-up,” SRP will examine the canals and underwater structures to look for evidence of invasive clams. Adult quagga mussels recently were discovered at the head of the SRP canal system in the CAP-SRP Interconnect channel near Granite Reef Diversion Dam in east Mesa.
These mussels concern SRP because they can settle in massive colonies and block water intakes.
SRP also will relocate weed-eating white amur fish to other canals. The herding and relocation of the fish will be conducted during the first few days of the dry-up, starting Saturday morning.
White amurs can be found throughout SRP’s 131-mile system.
A second dry-up, for SRP canals located north of the Salt River, is scheduled from Jan. 9 to Feb. 8.