The Hoover Dam and Its Construction Essay

The Hoover Dam and Its Construction Essay

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Outside of China, the United States is the most-dammed country on the planet. Counting only dams taller than fifty feet high, the U.S. has some 5,000 dams that range from giant hydroelectric dams such as the Grand Coulee in Washington State to flood control dams in the southeast and dams that provide water for irrigation in California. Overall the United States has as many as 2.5 million dams of one sort or another. The design and construction of many of these dams took place between 1930 and 1975. This 45 years period is known as the golden age of dam building, starting with the construction of the Hoover Dam beginning in 1931. By the 1970s the golden age of dam construction began to come to an end with increased concerns of the impacts of dams on their surroundings. To better understand this time period I will look at the construction of Hoover Dam during the 1930’s followed by an examination many of today’s arguments for and against dams [i].

The need for a dam on the Colorado River was known decades before construction actually began due to the numerous destructive floods of the Colorado River. A need for water and electricity was also discovered to help with the development of the West. But there were many factors standing in the way such a large-scale construction project. Finally, in 1927 a bill detailing the project passed in Congress. Many construction companies began to look over the proposals but most agreed that the plan was too ambitious, too difficult, the project site was too unforgiving, and that the technology was not available to build a dam of that size[ii].

Hoover Dam is located in the Black Canyon, on the Colorado River, about thirty miles southeast of Las V...

... middle of paper ...

...onomic impacts of the dam, the impacts of removal, and the economic costs.


[i] Davy, Emma. “Robofish” Current Science March 2, 2001: 10.




5 Robbins, Elaine. “Damning Dams.” E Jan 1999: 14.

6 Franklin, Chris. “Let the Colorado River run free.” Earth Island Journal Spring 1997: 23.

7 http://www/

8 “Not so fast; Eliminating dams; Why dams can be green.” The Economist March 3, 2001: 4.

9 Wade, Beth. “Bringing down the dams.” American City and County June 1999: 20.

10 “Knocking down dams – A good year for alewives.” The Economist July 29, 2000: 32.


12 McMahon, Richard Jr. “Let’s not damn the dams.” The Business Journal January 28, 2000: 47.

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