Colorado River Aqueduct siphon geyser halted

The geyser of water spouting from a siphon, or pipe, on Metropolitan Water District's Colorado River Aqueduct north of Desert Hot Springs has been halted and the aqueduct's flow resumed, the utility reported Saturday.

Mar 10th, 2003


March 10, 2003 -- The geyser of water spouting from a siphon, or pipe, on Metropolitan Water District's Colorado River Aqueduct north of Desert Hot Springs has been halted and the aqueduct's flow resumed, the utility reported Saturday.

There were no interruptions of water deliveries to Metropolitan's 26 member public water agencies throughout urban Southern California.
The break is at the Big Morongo Siphon on the Colorado River Aqueduct, near the intersection of Twentynine Palms Highway (Route 62) and Indian Avenue, Riverside County Thomas Guide Page 389, K-L 4.

Metropolitan's 242-mile-long Colorado River Aqueduct had been empty for the past month for repairs, while water deliveries to Metropolitan's 26 member public water agency customers continued uninterrupted with supplies from the State Water Project and Metropolitan's nine reservoirs. The aqueduct was being refilled when the Big Morongo geyser was seen by Metropolitan's air and land patrols about 9:30 a.m. Friday, March 7.

When the aqueduct was built in the 1930s, many components were sized for future capacities or expansion. The aqueduct has 144 siphons, big pipes that carry water under natural washes and other hazards. Many of the siphons, including Big Morongo, are two parallel pipes, or double-barreled.

The Big Morongo Siphon barrel that appears to be ruptured was blocked off at 1 a.m. today, and will be inspected after the two-mile-long pipe is dewatered later today. Meanwhile, aqueduct flow has been resumed through the undamaged barrel of the siphon.

After discovering the rupture, Metropolitan diverted the aqueduct flow about 60 miles east of the break into the spreading basin for Metropolitan's Hayfield Groundwater Storage Project. Some water also was diverted into groundwater storage at nearby Whitewater.

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