Ask the editor: How does flood irrigation work?


If you live in certain subdivisions, you can use flood irrigation from Salt River Project to water your property deeply into the soil in a cost-effective manner.

Here’s how it works: An SRP employee opens a gate to release the water from one of the Valley’s seven main canals into a system of smaller waterways called laterals. Another gate is opened to release water from laterals into your neighborhood system.

You and your neighbors are responsible for making sure all gates and controls are set properly to receive water. Your yard will be flooded 2-3 inches deep. The ground will soak it up in about three hours’ time.

The employee who opens the canal gates and SRP’s gates into the neighborhood system is called a zanjero—Spanish for “ditch rider.” Zanjeros have been controlling irrigation flows since the late 1800s. You may recognize the name from a Gilbert desert park that honors their work.

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Tom Blodgett
Raised in Arizona, Tom Blodgett has spent 30 years in journalism in Arizona and is the editor of the Gilbert edition of Community Impact Newspaper. He is a graduate of Arizona State University, where he now serves as an instructional professional in the Walter Cronkite School of Journalism and Mass Communication and editorial adviser to The State Press, the university's independent student media outlet.
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