Hoover Dam was built to provide power and manage the water along the Colorado River. The dam attracts tourists who want to examine the facility and its reservoir is a popular destination for boaters seeking sunshine and water sports. A short drive from Las Vegas, Nevada, the dam is a convenient side trip for those visiting America’s gambling capital. Hoover Dam is managed by the U.S. Bureau of Reclamation.
Hoover Dam is located along the Arizona and Nevada border, in the Black Canyon of the Colorado River. Its dam reservoir is Lake Mead, one of the largest artificially created bodies of water in the world. Visitors to Lake Mead enjoy boating, fishing, houseboating, camping and water skiing. The dam is approximately 35 miles southeast of Las Vegas, Nevada.
Hoover Dam was part of the Boulder Canyon Project approved by Congress in 1928. It was completed in 1936 at a cost of more than $175 million. It was originally referred to as Boulder Dam or the Boulder Canyon Dam, but its name was officially changed to Hoover Dam in 1947 for President Herbert Hoover, who left office in 1933. Visitors can take a tour of the dam to learn more about it its history and visit its gift shop.
Hoover Dam controls flooding of the Colorado River and provides power and water to areas of the Pacific Southwest. The Boulder Canyon Project includes a reservoir and hydroelectric power plant. Prior to construction of the dam, flooding was damaging areas of Imperial and Palo Verde valleys.
Water pours through Hoover Dam’s giant turbines to generate electricity. There are 17 main turbines, with eight on the Nevada wing and nine on the Arizona wing. The rated capacity of the plant is 2,998,000 horsepower. The electricity generated is sold and water from the reservoir is used to irrigate farmland and supply water to cities.
Hoover Dam weighs more than 6,600,000 tons, is 1,244 feet wide and 726 feet high, with a 660-foot-thick concrete base. The structure contains approximately 4-½ million cubic yards of concrete, enough to build a two-lane highway from San Francisco to New York. The maximum water pressure at its base is 45,000 pounds per square foot.
- U.S. Department of the Interior: Hoover Dam
- “World Book, H”; Hoover Dam; Edward Pritchett; 1990
- hoover dam image by Dave from Fotolia.com