Against a backdrop of elusive summer rains, soaring temperatures, and park-wide fire restrictions, the National Park Service finally…ahem…caught a break. The park’s hardworking maintenance crew was finally able to repair a stubborn rupture in the Trans-Canyon Water Pipeline.
The 12.5-mile-long, high-pressure pipeline delivers water from Roaring Springs (located about 3,000 feet below the North Rim) to the developed areas of both the North and South Rims. The 1960s vintage water system delivers about 200 million gallons annually.
On the South Rim, which is host to the vast majority of the park’s 4.5 million visitors each year, there is a one-month supply in storage tanks—so the clock is ticking as soon as any leak is detected. Ruptures in the line are not uncommon, but this one proved particularly challenging.
Though the only visitor impacts included the suspension of overnight stays at historic Phantom Ranch, and the shutdown of water faucets at Roaring Springs and Cottonwood Campground, more drastic measures were only days away. So three cheers for the men in gray and green for keeping the water flowing.