Water is in short supply at the South Rim of Grand Canyon National Park, and it may get even more scarce.
“Effective immediately, the South Rim of Grand Canyon National Park will begin phasing in greater water restrictions and conservation measures due to a series of breaks in the Transcanyon Waterline,” explained Joëlle Baird, public affairs specialist at Grand Canyon National Park, in a statement. “The North Rim of Grand Canyon National Park will remain in current water conservation status.”
Baird went on to explain that water conservation measures in the entire park will remain in place until park staff repair the break and water in storage tanks reaches sustainable levels.
For example, operating under existing water restrictions, park staff and partners conserve water by using disposable dishes and utensils in restaurants, and they only serve water by request. Park staff and partners have also been using low water-use practices to clean hotel rooms. They have been using water conservation measures at home and work as well.
Why There Is A Water Shortage At The South Rim
Water at Grand Canyon National Park comes from a natural spring, called Roaring Springs, which is approximately 3,500 feet below the North Rim. The problem is that water from Roaring Springs is delivered using an aging pipeline that typically breaks several times a year.
When the pipeline breaks, water then stops flowing to the North and South Rims, as well as other sites. There are large storage tanks that provide ample water-to-rim locations. However, while the pipeline is being repaired, water may not be available below the rim in what’s called the cross-canyon corridor.
What Water Conservation Means To Visitors
Under the current water restrictions, Camper Services operated by Delaware North are closed. What’s more, water spigots in Mather Campground and Desert View Campground are also turned off.
All Xanterra concession services and overnight lodging at Phantom Ranch are also closed.
Here’s how visitors and residents alike can help conserve water at Grand Canyon. First, of course, showers should be limited to 5 minutes or less, and laundry should only be done with full loads. Other methods of conserving water include turning the faucet off while shaving or brushing your teeth and only selectively flushing the toilet.
Anyone who plans to visit the backcountry should plan to carry all their own water or methods to treat water. When treating water, it’s important to keep in mind that simply filtering water doesn’t guarantee it is safe to drink. It also needs to be disinfected.
You can find detailed information about how to treat water here.
Finally, water may temporarily be unavailable along trails or at trailheads while the pipeline is being repaired. You can see if water is currently available at various campgrounds and trails in the Grand Canyon here.
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