Most people think about Las Vegas when they hear “Nevada”, but Nevada is much more than gambling and nights that turn into mornings. There are tons of outdoor activities to partake like visiting the canyons, land sailing, and visiting the Hoover Dam! The Hoover Dam is definitely worth learning about, so keep reading to learn its history, how it works, and what it is used for!!
Here’s a bit of history on the Hoover Dam! In the early 1900s, farmers recognized the need for more water to the budding Southwest, and built canals to deliver the water. After a bit, the Colorado River bust through those canals, and the work to control the river, was no longer in the farmers’ hands! The U.S. Bureau of Reclamation recognized the need to keep the Colorado River back a bit, and also to generate water and hydroelectric power for the Southwest. (At that time, the Southwest was developing pretty quickly, and they knew more energy sources were needed as well.) Construction workers went to work right away but were met with many challenges trying to build this dam on the border of Arizona and Nevada. Some of the tunnels were filled with carbon monoxide, and the laborers had to hang from 800 feet high to clear out canyon walls. The work seemed impossible at times, but they were determined to complete this dam that was the largest in the WORLD at that time! Fast forward a few years, and despite the U.S. Bureau of Reclamation switching presidents, and working through the Great Depression, this concrete arch-gravity dam was built bordering Nevada and Arizona to provide a way for the Colorado River to flow to Colorado, Wyoming, Utah, New Mexico, Arizona, California, and Nevada!
When I think of a dam, I think of how the beaver puts up all the wood to hold up a place in the water. The Hoover Dam is so much more than that! The technical name is the concrete arch-gravity retaining wall. There are 2 penstocks on either side of the Colorado River. Water flows through them to get to the turbines. The force of the water on the turbine makes a rotor turn. (The rotor is a bunch of magnets together) This creates a magnetic field,
and produces electricity. This amazing process was discovered by Michael Faraday in 1831.
The Hoover Dam is not only used to control the flow of the Colorado River some, it is also used to bring power to SEVEN Southwest states!