Drought, low water shuts hydro plant at Roosevelt Lake, AZ


Mar 11, 2001
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Drought forces closure of Roosevelt Lake plant

Shaun McKinnon, The Arizona Republic

June 12, 2002

Arizona's drought will claim a new victim this week, forcing Salt River Project to shut down its hydroelectric generating plant at Roosevelt Dam, where water levels continue to fall.

Tim Koors/The Arizona Republic
Much of what used to be under water is now dry land near the dam at Roosevelt Lake.

SRP officials foresee no energy shortages because of the idled turbines, which account for less than 1 percent of the system's generating capacity, but there will be other costs. The utility will lose as much as $10,000 a day in revenue produced by the plant and may have to buy power from other sources to meet daily demands this summer.

It's the first time in more than 50 years that SRP will mothball the Roosevelt plant because of low water, another sign of how serious the drought has become. Across Arizona, no measurable rain fell during May and no relief is forecast through June. Fire danger remains extreme, and wildlife managers report worsening conditions in the backcountry.

At Roosevelt Lake, northeast of Phoenix, the water level fell low enough late last week to trigger concerns about the power plant turbines, said Dallas Riegle, SRP's senior hydrologist.

When water levels drop too low, so does water pressure, leaving the turbines vulnerable to damage.

The other three power plants on the Salt River - Horse Mesa, Mormon Flat and Stewart Mountain - are unaffected so far because SRP maintains them at higher levels, releasing water from Roosevelt to keep them full.


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