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KNAU and Arizona News

Grand Canyon Officials Propose Water Pipeline Replacement Plans


Officials at Grand Canyon National Park are proposing updates to an aging water pipeline. KNAU’s Ryan Heinsius reports, the rim-to-rim system supplies water to the entire park. 

The Trans-Canyon Pipeline was built in the mid-1960s and designed to last about 40 years. Floods and rock slides cause breaks, often leaving some areas of the park without water for several days.

Project director Kris Provenzano says each repair costs an average of $25,000.

"Without the pipeline bringing water up to the South Rim there is no water up here … And so, that’s where it really becomes that backbone, that nerve center, for the entire infrastructure of water within the canyon … It’s, no water, no park," she says.

Credit NPS
A worker rappels down a cliff wall in the Grand Canyon during a recent pipeline break.

Provenzano says one option is to replace 12-and-a-half miles of the 15-mile pipeline that run through the canyon and up to the South Rim. But the plan preferred by park officials would move the system’s water intake from below the North Rim to Bright Angel Creek at Phantom Ranch.

The project is slated to begin in 2020. It could cost up to $125 million and construction is expected to take two-and-a-half to four years. 

A public comment period runs through August 7.

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