Devin Conley

Tuesday, Aug. 8, 2017

Grand Canyon water pipeline slated for multimillion-dollar replacement

GRAND CANYON – An aging pipeline bringing water to residents, resorts and 6 million visitors a year at the Grand Canyon has broken about 80 times since 2010 and needs a multimillion-dollar replacement, park officials say.

Officials have sutured the breaks over the years, but that is no longer enough, said Kirby-Lynn Shedlowski, Grand Canyon spokeswoman. She said it’s time to go beyond patchwork and spend up to $124 million to replace it before a major disruption of water service at the international tourist draw.

“It’s been used long past it’s expected life plan,” Shedlowski said.

The Trans-Canyon Water Distribution Pipeline, built more than five decades ago, has had breaks brought on mostly by seasonal changes, from severe winters to summer’s heat.

The water for the 18-mile wide Grand Canyon serves millions of visitors from around the world and more than 2,500 residents who rely on it for drinking and household uses.