One Side Road and I’m a Dam Site Smarter!

The Davis Dam works to control water release from the Hoover Dam and continues to help provide residents in Arizona and Nevada with fresh drinking water.
Photo by Diane Taylor

So my gentleman friend and I were on our way to another one-night getaway at the Golden Nugget in Laughlin, Nevada. (I get occasional free nights at the Golden Nugget because I gamble and usually lose, and they consider me a valuable customer.)

On the way to Laughlin, the gentleman suggested we take a road whose sign talked about Davis Dam. I wasn’t particularly interested in a side trip, but O.K. We passed a couple large picnic areas and then wow! Davis Dam was quite large.

As the Golden Nugget stay progressed (and I lost gambling again), I thought about the dam and I wondered: in this part of the country where Hoover Dam is such big deal, what’s the purpose of Davis Dam?

Home again the next day with free time and access to my computer, I decided to do a little research.

The Colorado River is 1450 miles long and goes from Colorado into Mexico.

Constructed in 1951, Davis Dam is 67 miles downstream from Hoover Dam (completed in 1936) and 88 miles upstream from the Parker Dam (opened in 1938). “The primary purpose of Davis Dam is to re-regulate Hoover Dam releases to meet downstream needs including the annual delivery of 1.5 million acre-feet of water to Mexico. This is in accordance with the 1944 water treaty with Mexico.} Davis Dam also creates Nevada’s Lake Mojave. (My gentleman friend and I have visited the popular Cottonwood Cove at Lake Mojave, but I never questioned how the lake came to be.) One of the online sites I visited noted. “It is hard to miss Davis Dam…it rises 140 feet above water.” OK Google, so I had missed it!

I also learned Davis Dam was originally called Bullhead Dam but is now named after Arthur Powell Davis, who was the Director of the U.S. Bureau of Reclamation from 1914 to 1923 and was considered the mastermind behind the Hoover Dam project. The Bureau owns and operates the dam.

So then I asked myself, “I wonder how many dams are on the Colorado River?” The answer currently appears to be 15 on the river’s main stream and maybe hundreds on the tributaries. Dams hold back water that would otherwise flow downstream. The river itself is 1450 miles long and nearly all the areas it flows through are perpetually short of water.

Maybe I did know that the Colorado River water comes from snowpack on the western slope of the Rocky Mountains, but now I know much more. Hoover Dam is not the only game in town … when it comes to dams on the Colorado River.

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Mike McNamara

Mike McNamara

A Las Vegas Realtor since 2008. Mike has a wide range of knowledge around all things Las Vegas.

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