Being one of the biggest hydroelectric facilities in the United
States and a National Landmark, Hoover Dam generates power to
serve more than 1.3 million people. The dam also provides flood
control, irrigation, and water storage along the Colorado River.
Located 30 miles southeast of Las Vegas, the dam captures water
from the Colorado River and fills Lake Mead. The federal
government completed construction of the dam in 1936. Because
Colorado River water is so sought after, there are legal limits
as to how much water each party can take from the Colorado River.
Tickets are now on sale for the Water Education Foundation’s April 11-13 tour of the Lower Colorado River.
Don’t miss this opportunity to visit key sites along one of the nation’s most famous rivers, including a private tour of Hoover Dam, Central Arizona Project’s Mark Wilmer pumping plant and the Havasu National Wildlife Refuge. The tour also visits the Salton Sea, Slab City, the All-American Canal and farming regions in the Imperial and Coachella valleys.
Rising temperatures from climate change are having a noticeable
effect on how much water is flowing down the Colorado River. Read
the latest River Report to learn more about what’s
happening, and how water managers are responding.
A longtime former official for the U.S. Bureau of Reclamation
in Nevada has been indicted on federal fraud charges for his
alleged role in a bribery scheme involving a government
contract at the Hoover Dam.
This issue of Western Water discusses the challenges
facing the Colorado River Basin resulting from persistent
drought, climate change and an overallocated river, and how water
managers and others are trying to face the future.
This three-day, two-night tour explored the lower Colorado River
where virtually every drop of the river is allocated, yet demand
is growing from myriad sources — increasing population,
declining habitat, drought and climate change.
The 1,450-mile river is a lifeline to 40 million people in
the Southwest across seven states and Mexico. How the Lower Basin
states – Arizona, California and Nevada – use and manage this
water to meet agricultural, urban, environmental and industrial
needs is the focus of this tour.
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Hoover dam and the reservoir it created have had one public
purpose since the 1930s, when they first tamed the Colorado
River. And as the Depression’s engineering marvels aged into
the 21st century, Lake Mead and its dam were still seen largely
as the workhorses needed to send water and hydroelectricity
around the Southwest. But in the last 15 years, things have
Since 2000, the Colorado River Basin has experienced an historic,
extended drought causing reservoir storage in the Colorado River
system to decline from nearly full to about half of capacity. For
the Lower Basin, a key point has been to maintain the level of
Lake Mead to prevent a shortage declaration.
A healthy snowfall in the Rockies has reduced the odds of a
shortage this year, but the basin states still must come to terms
with a static supply and growing demands, as well as future
impacts from climate change.
On our Lower
Colorado River Tour, April 5-7, you will meet with water
managers from the three Lower Basin states: Nevada, Arizona and
California. Federal, state and local agencies will update you on
the latest hydrologic conditions and how recent storms might
change plans for water supply and storage.
This issue of Western Water examines the ongoing effort
between the United States and Mexico to develop a
new agreement to the 1944 Treaty that will continue the
binational cooperation on constructing Colorado River
infrastructure, storing water in Lake Mead and providing instream
flows for the Colorado River Delta.
As one of the most productive agricultural regions in the world,
the Imperial Valley
receives its water from the Colorado River via the
All-American Canal. Rainfall is scarce in the desert region at
less than three inches per year and groundwater is of little
Abrahm Lustgarten, a reporter for ProPublica, has written a new
story about one of the largest dams in the US, Glen Canyon, and
a recent push to open up its gates. It’s a remarkable
development, he says, given how important the Colorado River
dams — Glen Canyon, with its reservoir, Lake Powell, and
Hoover with Lake Meade — have been for the development of
Six years ago, at the end of the summer of 2010, federal Bureau
of Reclamation officials worried that Hoover Dam, the biggest
hydropower enterprise in the Southwest, might soon go dark.
Water levels in Lake Mead, the dam’s energy source, were
falling, and Hoover was moving “into uncharted territory,” the
facility manager told Circle of Blue. Today, the story has a
The dramatic decline in water levels in Lake Mead and Lake Powell
is perhaps the most visible sign of the historic drought that has
gripped the Colorado River Basin for the past 16 years. In 2000,
the reservoirs stood at nearly 100 percent capacity; today, Lake
Powell is at 49 percent capacity while Lake Mead has dropped to
38 percent. Before the late season runoff of Miracle May, it
looked as if Mead might drop low enough to trigger the first-ever
Lower Basin shortage determination in 2016.
Read the excerpt below from the Sept./Oct. 2015 issue along
with the editor’s note. Click here to subscribe to Western
Water and get full access.
This 3-day, 2-night tour traveled along the Lower Colorado River
from Hoover Dam to the Salton Sea and the Coachella Valley. Along
the way, experts discussed challenges related to what is the most
contested, beloved for recreation and meticulously managed rivers
in the nation.
The federal agency overseeing water and power is in the market
for 52,000 rounds of ammunition for its officers at Hoover Dam
and the Lake Mead National Recreation Area, raising questions
about weapons for nonmilitary purposes.
In a move that’s prompting questions about the stockpiling of
weapons by the federal government’s nonmilitary agencies, the
Bureau of Reclamation wants to buy 52,000 rounds of ammunition
for use in law enforcement at Hoover Dam and Lake Mead.
One afternoon last summer, Pat Mulroy stood in 106-degree heat
at the broad concrete banister atop the Hoover Dam, the wall
that holds back the mighty Colorado River, and with it the
nation’s largest reserve of water.
The road to Boulder City was once littered with empty liquor
bottles. Constructed some 33 miles southeast of Las Vegas, the
town was born with a singular purpose: as the base camp for
those who would build Hoover Dam.
This 25-minute documentary-style DVD, developed in partnership
with the California Department of Water Resources, provides an
excellent overview of climate change and how it is already
affecting California. The DVD also explains what scientists
anticipate in the future related to sea level rise and
precipitation/runoff changes and explores the efforts that are
underway to plan and adapt to climate.
30-minute DVD that traces the history of the U.S. Bureau of
Reclamation and its role in the development of the West. Includes
extensive historic footage of farming and the construction of
dams and other water projects, and discusses historic and modern
This 24×36 inch poster, suitable for framing, illustrates the
water resources available for Nevada cities, agriculture and the
environment. It features natural and manmade water resources
throughout the state, including the Truckee and Carson rivers,
Lake Tahoe, Pyramid Lake and the course of the Colorado River
that forms the state’s eastern boundary.
Water as a renewable resource is depicted in this 18×24 inch
poster. Water is renewed again and again by the natural
hydrologic cycle where water evaporates, transpires from plants,
rises to form clouds, and returns to the earth as precipitation.
Excellent for elementary school classroom use.
Redesigned in 2017, this beautiful map depicts the seven
Western states that share the Colorado River with Mexico. The
Colorado River supplies water to nearly 40 million people in
Arizona, California, Colorado, Nevada, New Mexico, Utah, Wyoming
and the country of Mexico. Text on this beautiful, 24×36-inch
map, which is suitable for framing, explains the river’s
apportionment, history and the need to adapt its management for
urban growth and expected climate change impacts.
The 28-page Layperson’s Guide to Nevada Water provides an
overview of the history of water development and use in Nevada.
It includes sections on Nevada’s water rights laws, the history
of the Truckee and Carson rivers, water supplies for the Las
Vegas area, groundwater, water quality, environmental issues and
today’s water supply challenges.
The Colorado River provides water to 40 million people and 4
million acres of farmland in a region encompassing some 246,000
square miles in the southwestern United States. The 32-page
Layperson’s Guide to the Colorado River covers the history of the
river’s development; negotiations over division of its water; the
items that comprise the Law of the River; and a chronology of
significant Colorado River events.
A new look for our most popular product! And it’s the perfect
gift for the water wonk in your life.
Our 24×36 inch California Water Map is widely known for being the
definitive poster that shows the integral role water plays in the
state. On this updated version, it is easier to see California’s
natural waterways and man-made reservoirs and aqueducts
– including federally, state and locally funded
projects – the wild and scenic rivers system, and
natural lakes. The map features beautiful photos of
California’s natural environment, rivers, water projects,
wildlife, and urban and agricultural uses and the
text focuses on key issues: water supply, water use, water
projects, the Delta, wild and scenic rivers and the Colorado
Hoover Dam, one of the tallest dams
in the United States and a National Historic Landmark that draws
tourists from across the globe, is a key reservoir providing
flood control, water storage and irrigation along the lower
Colorado River. It also
is one of the nation’s largest hydroelectric facilities,
generating on average about 4 billion kilowatt-hours of
hydroelectric power each year, enough electricity to serve more
than 1.3 million people in Nevada, Arizona and California.
This printed issue of Western Water examines how the various
stakeholders have begun working together to meet the planning
challenges for the Colorado River Basin, including agreements
with Mexico, increased use of conservation and water marketing,
and the goal of accomplishing binational environmental
restoration and water-sharing programs.
This printed issue of Western Water explores the
historic nature of some of the key agreements in recent years,
future challenges, and what leading state representatives
identify as potential “worst-case scenarios.” Much of the content
for this issue of Western Water came from the in-depth
panel discussions at the Colorado River Symposium. The Foundation
will publish the full proceedings of the Symposium in 2012.
This printed issue of Western Water examines the
Colorado River drought, and the ongoing institutional and
operational changes underway to maintain the system and meet the
future challenges in the Colorado River Basin.
This printed issue of Western Water explores some of the major
challenges facing Colorado River stakeholders: preparing for
climate change, forging U.S.-Mexico water supply solutions and
dealing with continued growth in the basins states. Much of the
content for this issue of Western Water came from the in-depth
panel discussions at the September 2009 Colorado River Symposium.
Drawn from a special stakeholder symposium held in September 1999
in Keystone, Colorado, this issue explores how we got to where we
are today on the Colorado River; an era in which the traditional
water development of the past has given way to a more
collaborative approach that tries to protect the environment
while stretching available water supplies.