Provo Reservoir Canal
What is it?
The Provo Reservoir Canal (PRC), also known as the Murdock Canal, runs from the mouth of Provo Canyon in Orem, Utah to the Point of the Mountain near the Utah County/Salt Lake County boundary in Lehi, Utah.
Why was it built?
The Provo Reservoir Canal was built to deliver water developed by the Provo River Project and stored in Deer Creek Reservoir to irrigation and municipal water users in Utah and Salt Lake Counties.
When was it built?
The Provo Reservoir Canal was originally built in the early 1900s by the Provo Reservoir Company, and had a capacity of 180 cubic feet per second (cfs). In the 1940s the canal and right-of-way were purchased as part of the Bureau of Reclamation Provo River Project, and the PRC was enlarged to its present design capacity of 550 cfs.
How big is it?
The Provo Reservoir Canal runs approximately 21.5 miles from the Murdock Diversion in Provo Canyon, northwest along the foothills of the Wasatch Front to the Point of the Mountain near the Utah County/Salt Lake County boundary. The PRC is mostly earth-lined with a bottom width of 18 feet. Approximately 21,000 feet of the canal is concrete-lined, with a bottom width of 14 feet in these sections.
There are four siphons along the PRC. The Olmsted Tunnel and Siphon is 5,200-foot long 96-inch diameter pipeline which carries water from just below the Murdock Diversion through the mouth of Provo Canyon, under and across the Provo River and daylights at 800 North in Orem. The American Fork Siphon crosses under American Fork Creek and consists of a 1,285-foot long 96-inch diameter siphon. The Dry Creek Siphon is a 1,185-foot long 96-inch diameter siphon that crosses under Dry Creek. The I-15 Siphon crosses under Interstate 15 and consists of a 1,100-foot long 90-inch diameter siphon near the Point of the Mountain.
What is the Association’s responsibility?
The Association’s responsibility is to measure flow throughout the PRC and make sure there is sufficient water for the needs of its shareholders. This is done through three measuring stations along the canal and is controlled remotely. The Association also maintains the canal, including mowing and burning weeds, grading the base, maintaining and lining the banks, maintaining the right-of-way, treating underwater growth, maintaining check structures, managing turnouts, and keeping screens clear of debris.
A little more information…
The entire canal is gravity-fed, meaning it gets its movement and pressure by running downhill. The difference in elevation at the beginning of the canal (the Murdock Diversion in the mouth of Provo Canyon), and the Point of the mountain is only 60 feet, and it takes approximately 9-12 hours for water to move from the Murdock Diversion to the Point of the Mountain. The elevation difference is sufficient to cause the water to successfully make it through the canal’s four siphons.