How big is the CAP canal?

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CAP System

The Central Arizona Project system is 336 miles long, originating on the Colorado River in Parker, Arizona, and ending south of Tucson. 

The typical canal section is shaped like a trapezoid with a bottom width that is 24 feet for the majority of the system. The canal is filled with water to approximately 17 feet deep.

Some other factoids about this amazing system:

  • The system includes CAP storage reservoir Lake Pleasant and a hydroelectric pump/generating plant at New Waddell Dam, both of which are located around the midpoint of the system in central Arizona.
  • 14 pumping plants lift water nearly 3,000 feet. It takes significant power to pump water uphill. Hence, CAP is the single, largest power user in Arizona.
  • There are more than 50 turnouts that deliver raw Colorado River water to municipal and industrial, tribal and agricultural users.
  • Four tunnels move water through mountainous terrain. One example is Burnt Mountain Tunnel about 60 miles west of Phoenix. Its shape is most similar to a horseshoe with a diameter of 19.5 feet and a length of .6 miles.
  • The original cost of the system was $4 billion.

See a CAP system StoryMap