HAER No. AZ-52, South Canal, South of the Salt River, Mesa Vicinity, Maricopa County: Written Historical and Descriptive Data, Photographs, and Reduced Copies of Drawings
Author(s): Shelly C. Dudley
The U.S. Reclamation Service constructed the South Canal to carry water to the farmers on the south side of the Salt River as part of the Salt River Federal Reclamation Project. Built between 1907 and 1909, the original canal measured only two miles and diverted water from the newly erected Granite Reef Dam. The South Canal eventually became the only irrigation structure to divert water directly from the Salt River and deliver it to the south side shareholders of the Salt River Valley Water Users' Association (the Association).
Controversy surrounded membership in the Association for many of the landowner's south of the Salt River. A majority of the farmers held early water rights and did not see any advantages to joining the Salt River Project (SRP) when the project first opened. The canals that supplied water to these people had their own headings or diversion points in the Salt River. Although some farmers built new irrigation ditches and laterals so they could join the Association in the early 1910s, it was not until the 1920s that almost all of the unsigned lands within the exterior boundaries of the Salt River Reservoir District became members of the Project. The original South Canal was enlarged and extended to accommodate all the water users on the south side of the Salt River, encompassing portions of the Eastern and Consolidated canals.
Because the early founders of the Salt River Project saw the potential of hydropower, the Association contracted with the federal government in 1910 to build three power plants on the Salt River Project canals. Eventually three hydropower plants would be built on the South Canal. They provided needed power to an expanding Salt River Valley for commercial and domestic use.
This report will detail the history of the South Canal, from its minor beginnings to becoming the primary irrigation structure carrying water to the shareholders on the southern portion of the Salt River Project.
Cite this Record
HAER No. AZ-52, South Canal, South of the Salt River, Mesa Vicinity, Maricopa County: Written Historical and Descriptive Data, Photographs, and Reduced Copies of Drawings, 52. Shelly C. Dudley. 1998 ( tDAR id: 437902) ; doi:10.6067/XCV8437902
This Resource is Part of the Following Collections
Calendar Date: 1907 to 1909 (Dates of construction for the South Canal)
min long: -111.891; min lat: 33.379 ; max long: -111.685; max lat: 33.553 ;
Individual & Institutional Roles
Contact(s): Salt River Project Cultural Resource Manager
Prepared By(s): Salt River Project
Submitted To(s): U.S. Department of the Interior, National Park Service
HAER No.(s): AZ-52
SRP Library Barcode No.(s): 00090786
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