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A River Runs Through It: SRP Water Release Postpones Avondale Festival, Washes Out Roads

Avondale Flooding
(Photo by Casey Kuhn - KJZZ)
Old Avondale Boulevard, the site of Tres Rios Nature Festival, flooded.

Salt River Project released water from its northern Granite Reef Dam this week, rising local rivers that washed away roads and changed plans on both sides of the Valley.

Trout struggle in the rushing water flowing on what used to be old Avondale Boulevard near Phoenix International Raceway.

Avondale Assistant Parks and Recreation Director Christina Underhill said the annual Tres Rios Nature Festival this weekend is canceled.

“Right now it’s underwater, so it’s definitely affecting the festival," she said. "We won’t be able to put exhibitors, or our stage of bands out on the river, as cool as that may be.”

Underhill said it’s the worst flooding she’s seen since 2010. After that, there was a restoration project to handle floods. Underhill hopes that effort prevented major erosion so the festival can go on the first weekend in April - though the flooding is still a sight to see.

“I’m disappointed but it’s amazing to see how much water is coming down here,” Underhill said.

El Mirage Road between Indian Springs Road and Southern Avenue was also closed Thursday due to flooding.

Casey Kuhn reports from KJZZ’s West Valley Bureau. She comes to Phoenix from the Midwest, where she graduated from Indiana University with a degree in journalism.Kuhn got her start in radio reporting in college at the community public radio station, WFHB. She volunteered there as a reporter and worked her way up to host the half-hour, daily news show. After graduating, she became a multimedia reporter at Bloomington's NPR/PBS station WFIU/WTIU, where she reported for and produced a weekly statewide news television show.Since moving to the Southwest, she’s discovered a passion for reporting on rural issues, agriculture and the diverse people who make up her community.Kuhn was born and raised in Cincinnati, where her parents instilled in her a love of baseball, dogs and good German beer. You’ll most likely find her around the Valley with a glass of prosecco in one hand and a graphic novel in the other.She finds the most compelling stories come from KJZZ’s listeners.