As part of CAP’s Know Your Water series, you will be meeting some of the employees who work each day to ensure Colorado River water flows through our 336-mile aqueduct to reach our municipal, agricultural, industrial and tribal customers.
Learn more about Cliff Tarlip from our Aqueduct Maintenance Department via his words below and by watching this video.
Q: In a nutshell, what do you do for CAP?
A: As a heavy equipment operator, I maintain the roadways and work on anything else along the canal that needs repairing. I cover from check 25 to check 10, which is about 90 miles. We also are responsible for the mountain top microwave sites in that area. Basically, if it’s an area that CAP needs to travel on to ensure our water deliveries are reliable, we make sure they can do that.
Q: How did you get into this line of work?
A: I moved to Arizona in 1987 with a friend from high school and his uncle, who was a superintendent for a construction company. He gave us both a job and the rest is history. I ended up working for him for 18 years before I came to CAP.
Q: How does the work you do on a daily basis affect our water supply?
A: If the roads are not maintained properly, it is difficult for the other departments to access the canal to do maintenance and other work. Ultimately, that would affect how reliably the water gets delivered. We also spend time ensuring the areas of the system that are in urban areas are well maintained and properly manicured.
Q: What are some of the technical advances that allow you to do your job more effectively and efficiently?
A: Having a laser system on the motor grader is a very useful tool, because often there is not much elevation to get the water to drain off the operations & maintenance roads and having the laser takes the guess work out it. This technology gives me the ability to plug in what percent of slope I want and then get to work!
Q: What's the most challenging part of your work?
A: I think replacing the concrete panels of the canal is most challenging because you have usually 4 to 5 guys standing on a 2/1 slope with ropes and ladders all around so you really need to be aware of where you are standing and where your co-workers are also. So, it’s a huge safety challenge to ensure we get the work done in the safest way possible.
Q: What's the most gratifying part of your job?
A: The most gratifying part of my job is to be able to see a job completed. It is personally very satisfying to know that my job helps keep the water flowing.
Q: What is your favorite part about working at CAP?
A: I think being able to work for a company that allows its employees to learn and grow is a pretty cool thing.