Hoover Dam

February 12, 2011


Photographer: Cindy Foster
Summary Authors: Cindy Foster; Jim Foster

The photo above shows Hoover Dam straddling the Colorado River at Black Canyon as viewed from the by-pass bridge walkway. This gargantuan dam on the border of Nevada and Arizona is named after Herbert Hoover, the 31st U.S. president who was in office when construction began 1930. It stands 726 ft (221 m) high and generates an average of about four billion kilowatt hours of hydroelectric power each year. Approximately 1.3 million people are served by the dam’s hydropower. Lake Meade is the reservoir that was created when the Colorado River was blocked off by Hoover Dam. It’s big enough to store the flow of the Colorado for two full years, providing that river discharge be close to what is normally expected. As a comparison, this stored water would submerge every square foot of Arizona with nearly four inches (10 cm) of water.

Note the white band surrounding the reservoir. The top of this band shows the high water mark that was reached in the spring of 1983 when snowpacks throughout the entire Colorado River Basin melted unusually quickly within a few weeks. In recent years drought has been prevalent. Over the past decade, the volume of Lake Meade has decreased from 96 percent to roughly 45 percent. Water levels at Hoover Dam have fallen over 100 ft (30 m) since 2000. [Revised November 2017]

Photo Details: Camera Model: KODAK Z885 ZOOM DIGITAL CAMERA; Focal Length: 7.5mm (35mm equivalent: 36mm); Aperture: f/5.0; Exposure Time: 0.0013 s (1/800); ISO equiv: 80.