PHOENIX — If you’ve driven along SR51 near central Phoenix lately you may have noticed the big yellow pipes to the side. That’s because construction has finally begun on the Phoenix Drought Pipeline Project.
Pipes are currently being laid in along 32nd Street and Cactus Road in North Phoenix. Engineer Clayton Freed with the Phoenix Water Department explains the progress.
“We have nine miles of pipe that need to be installed and we have roughly 2.5 miles installed so far,” Freed said.
The purpose of the Drought Pipeline Project is to provide the ability to move treated water from the Salt and Verde River through nine miles of 66-inch pipe from Central Phoenix, connecting to North Phoenix, and reducing the dependency of water usage from the Colorado River.
“Right now we’re facing a drought on the Colorado River and this pipeline will allow us to move enough water north to serve over 400,000 people that are currently mostly dependent on Colorado River water,” Freed said.
Once up and running the pipeline will supply water through a vast network throughout the city.
“Ultimately, this project could move in the neighborhood of about 80,000,000 gallons a day through this pipeline alone.”
The total project cost is around $280 million. City of Phoenix residents are charged a rate through their monthly water bill, but officials say conservation is the big payoff.
“We live in the desert and doing our best to use the water that we have wisely, that’s a big piece,” Freed said.
Completion of the project is set for 2023.