Pipeline repairs leave portions of Grand Canyon without water or relying on stored water

This 2015 file photo shows Grand Canyon National Park personnel assessing damage from a split in a section of the Transcanyon Water Pipeline, Grand Canyon National Park, Arizona | Photo courtesy of National Park Service , St. George News

GRAND CANYON — Several locations within the Grand Canyon National Park’s inner canyon will be without water or on stored water Friday into Monday while crews repair a break in the Transcanyon Water Pipeline.

The affected areas are:

  • Phantom Ranch will be on stored water with standard water restrictions.
  • Cottonwood Campground will be without water.
  • Roaring Spring will be without water.
This 2014 National Park Service file photo shows water spraying from break in exposed section of Transcanyon Water Pipeline after flash flood event. Bright Angel Creek visible on right,
Grand Canyon National Park, Arizona, Jan. 2, 2014 | Photo courtesy of National Park Service , St. George News

Hikers going to Cottonwood Campground and Roaring Spring will need to be able to carry or treat all of their drinking water.

All hikers in Grand Canyon National Park need to remember that hydration is essential. All hikers need to be prepared to treat their water if necessary. As a reminder, hikers should check in with the backcountry office before starting a hike for updates on trail conditions and water availability.

For tips on preparing for and hiking in the Grand Canyon, click here.

This latest pipeline break is approximately 5 miles north of Phantom Ranch in an area called “the box,” a narrow section of the Bright Angel Trail along Bright Angel Creek. Typically breaks occur due to age of the pipeline, wear and tear and other environmental factors such as temperature fluctuations.

On Friday, the flow of water from Roaring Springs will be turned off in order to begin repairs. Those repairs are expected to be completed and the waterline recharged on Monday.

All other locations in the park will be unaffected by this pipeline break and repair. This includes the South Rim, Indian Garden, 1-1/2-mile and 3-Mile rest stops on the Bright Angel Trail and the North Rim.

Water for Grand Canyon National Park comes from Roaring Spring, approximately 1,500 feet below the North Rim of the park. It falls through the pipeline along Bright Angel Creek to Phantom Ranch then up to Indian Garden where it is pumped to storage tanks on the South Rim.

Water is pumped from Roaring Spring to Cottonwood Campground and the Manzanita Rest Area on the north side of the Bright Angel Trail.

The Transcanyon Water Pipeline opened in 1965 and was designed to last for 40 years. The park is conducting an environmental assessment as part of a project to replace the Transcanyon Water Pipeline by 2020.

The pipeline leaks regularly and has serious breaks each year that often force repair shut downs. Pipeline breaks in the remote canyon, accessible only by helicopter or trail, can take days or weeks to repair. There have been more than 80 pipeline breaks since 2010.

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