Historic American Engineering Record: Granite Reef Diversion Dam, Salt River, Mesa Vicinity, Maricopa County, Arizona
Author(s): Tonia Woods Horton
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Historic American Engineering Record (HAER) No. AZ-51 presents a written historical summary and relevant historical documentation about the construction and use of Granite Reef Diversion Dam, which diverts Salt River water released from upstream storage dams into canal irrigation systems for agricultural, industrial, and municipal uses. The report contains a narrative description, photographs, drawings, and maps.
The Granite Reef Diversion Dam is the principal structural mechanism by which the Salt River Project diverts stored waters into canals for delivery and use throughout the Salt River Valley. The dam was built in the northeastern portion of Mesa, Arizona near the Usery Mountains, where the Salt River flows into the Salt River Valley below the confluence of the Verde River. It controls the flow of river water into the Arizona Canal (see HAER No. AZ-19 at https://core.tdar.org/document/393523) on the north side of the Salt River, and into the South Canal (see HAER No. AZ-52 at https://core.tdar.org/document/393535) on the south side of the river. The Arizona Canal provides irrigation water to the cities of Scottsdale, Phoenix, Glendale, and Peoria, and historically delivered water for the generation of hydroelectric power (which provided the first electricity to Phoenix). The South Canal carries irrigation water to the cities of Mesa, Gilbert, Chandler, and Tempe; it also delivered water to a series of hydropower plants (which provided electricity to Salt River Project customers and cities on the south side of the Salt River).
Historically, Granite Reef Diversion Dam was constructed at approximately the same time as the Salt River Project's Theodore Roosevelt Dam as a response to an urgent request to support water storage and delivery along the Salt River below the mouth of the Verde River. After the formation of the US Reclamation Service in 1902, officials recognized that the implementation of a successful irrigation project in the Valley would require a permanent dam to channel stored and released water into canals on the north and south side of the Salt River. The simultaneous construction of the Granite Reef Diversion Dam and the Roosevelt Dam allowed engineers working on the projects to develop designs and construction strategies that defined U. S. Reclamation Service practices in the earliest irrigation projects funded under the Newlands Act.
Cite this Record
Historic American Engineering Record: Granite Reef Diversion Dam, Salt River, Mesa Vicinity, Maricopa County, Arizona. Tonia Woods Horton. 1998 ( tDAR id: 393534) ; doi:10.6067/XCV8765GD6
Calendar Date: 1940 to 1960 (dredging and rehabilitating Granite Reef Diversion Dam, and continued operation of the dam)
Calendar Date: 1906 to 1908 (Granite Reef Diversion Dam construction camp)
Calendar Date: 1902 to 1905 (origins of Granite Reef Diversion Dam)
Calendar Date: 1913 to 1940 (continued operation of Granite Reef Diversion Dam, floods, and siltation)
Calendar Date: 1906 to 1912 (initial construction and operation of Granite Reef Diversion Dam)
Calendar Date: 1970 to 1990 (mainetance and repair of the Granite Reef Diversion Dam)
Calendar Date: 1905 to 1906 (site survey and Granite Reef Diversion Dam design)
min long: -111.708; min lat: 33.502 ; max long: -111.668; max lat: 33.538 ;
Individual & Institutional Roles
Contact(s): Bureau of Reclamation, Phoenix Area Office
Sponsor(s): USDI Bureau of Reclamation, Phoenix Area Office
Prepared By(s): Salt River Project Archives
Submitted To(s): National Park Service, Intermountain Region
Historic American Engineering Record No.(s): AZ-51
Redaction Note: Sensitive information has been removed from the publicly accessible digital copy of this report. The following figures have been redacted: Figures AZ-51-2 to AZ-51-4, AZ-51-6, AZ-51-35 to AZ-51-36, AZ-51-40. Please contact the archaeologist at the USDI Bureau of Reclamation, Phoenix Area Office to obtain a complete digital copy of the report.
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