Hoover Dam, Nevada

Category: Hoover Dam | 11/05/2009 - 04:39:57

To supplement our feature on Lake Mead’s water level dropping Enviro-News has compiled a fact sheet on the Hoover Dam – the colossal hydroelectric station from which the Lake was created.

Hoover Dam, Nevada

Hoover Dam Construction

The Hoover Dam’s construction began in 1931, and it was completed five years later. It was built as a source of hydroelectric power generation, to provide water for agricultural purposes and to prevent floods.

A conglomerate titled Six Companies Inc. was created especially to build the Hoover Dam. The sextet of companies involved comprised of Morrison-Knudsen, the Utah Construction Company, the Pacific Bridge Company, the Bechtel Corporation/Henry J. Kaiser, MacDonald and Kahn and J.F. Shea.

When finished, the Hoover Dam stood as the largest electric-power generating site in the world, as well as the largest structure made out of concrete.

The Dam weighs over six-and-a-half million tons, and incorporates over three million cubic yards of concrete – enough to construct a motorway connecting New York to San Francisco! Sited on the 18th longest US’ river, the Colorado, the Hoover Dam was named after then-US President, Herbert Hoover. The body of water trapped behind the Hoover Dam, Lake Mead, took its name from the principal authoritative figure in charge of the Dam’s construction, Elwood Mead.

The Hoover Dam’s construction features 17 turbines, of which one is rated at 86,000 horsepower, one at 100,000 horsepower and the remaining 15 at 178,000 horsepower each.

Hoover Dam Construction

Hoover Dam Power Output

The Hoover Dam’s approximate annual power output is 4 billion Kilowatt-hours (KW-h), while the maximum power output produced by the 17 water turbines is a combined 2.08 Gigawatts

According to the US Bureau of Reclamation, the energy produced by the Hoover Dam is distributed among the following locations and organisations as follows:

Hoover Dam Power Output

For a full list of locations please see table at the end of the article.

As can be seen, the four dominant recipients of the Hoover Dam’s energy are the Metropolitan Water District of Southern California, the States of Nevada and Arizona, and the city of Los Angeles.

Environmental Benefits

The Hoover Dam provides a vast supply of renewable energy, which is fed across a significant area of the US. This type of energy has no associated greenhouse gas emissions, although emissions were created and released during its construction phase.

Once activated, the Hoover Dam allowed the Colorado River to be controlled, providing local farmers with a regular supply of water.

Environmental Drawbacks

The Hoover Dam had an immediate impact on local biodiversity. While it created Lake Mead, it also stopped water flowing to the mouth of the Colorado River. Four species of fish were killed to the extent that, in modern times, they have become regarded as endangered.

Table of locations:

Met Water District of Southern California 28.54%
State of Nevada 23.37%
State of Arizona 18.95%
Los Angeles, California 15.42%
Southern California Edison Company 5.54%
Boulder City, Nevada 1.77%
Glendale, California 1.59%
Pasadena, California 1.36%
Anaheim, California 1.15%
Riverside, California 0.86%
Vernon, California 0.62%
Burbank, California 0.59%
Azusa, California 0.11%
Colton, California 0.09%
Banning, California 0.04%