October 4, 2012

Canal break slows Colorado River flow

State Route 72 following a breach in a Central Arizona Project canal near Bouse Arizona, early Sunday morning. (Photo courtesy John Mickey.)


Federal regulators are slowing the flow of the Colorado River below Hoover Dam after a break in the canal that feeds river water to Arizona's largest cities.

The Bureau of Reclamation announced Thursday that the river will be running uncharacteristically low below Hoover and Davis dams this month because of reduced deliveries to Arizona.

The Grand Canyon State stopped taking water from the Colorado this week after the Central Arizona Project canal failed early Sunday near the town of Bouse, 50 miles southeast of Lake Havasu City, Ariz.

Officials in Arizona estimate approximately 400 acre-feet of water was lost in the canal break. That is enough to supply 800 average single-family homes in Las Vegas for one year.

The canal breach flooded a nearby highway, forcing it to close temporarily.

It is unknown when the canal will be repaired, but the Central Arizona Project will continue to make normal deliveries to its customers from water it has stored in Lake Pleasant, north of Phoenix.

The reduced water releases from Hoover and Davis will cause lower than normal river levels below the two dams and in the Laughlin and Bullhead City, Ariz., area.

Boaters are warned to be on the lookout for sandbars, boulders and gravel that might normally be submerged this time of year.