Grand Canyon Water Line by Directional Drilling

by William C. Taggart, McLaughlin Water Engineers Ltd, Denver, CO, USA,
Christopher M. Crandell, McLaughlin Water Engineers Ltd, Denver, CO, USA,
A. William Howard, McLaughlin Water Engineers Ltd, Denver, CO, USA,
Richard S. Carden, McLaughlin Water Engineers Ltd, Denver, CO, USA,

Document Type: Proceeding Paper

Part of: Water Forum '86: World Water Issues in Evolution


The South Rim Village at Grand Canyon National Park obtains its water supply from a point called Roaring Springs which is located approximately 15 miles across the Canyon on the North Side. The water is piped about 12 miles across the Canyon by gravity (maximum dynamic pressure of 760 psi) to Indian Gardens where the water is pumped up the final 3 miles to the South Rim. The directional drilling project, constructed in the fall of 1985, placed a high pressure waterline inside a directionally drilled hole that starts on top of the South Rim and curves to exit the canyon wall some 2,770 vertical feet below, along a route that is approximately 5. 050 feet long. Directional drilling is a relatively common technique which is used in the petroleum industry. Deviations using drilling mud have been successful up to 80 degrees from vertical (or nearly horizontal). At a deviation up to 70. 3 degrees from vertical, this drill hole sets a record for air drilling where 30 degree deflections are the normal maximum. This paper discusses the drilling methods and equipment, drilling problems, and other aspects of the subject.

Subject Headings: Drilling | Water pipelines | Canyons | Water supply | Water pressure | Pipelines | Dynamic pressure

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