Water Supply

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The Colorado River

Key: 1) The Hoover Dam 2) Lake Mead 3) City:Phoenix 5) City:San Diego 6) Lake Powell

The Colorado river and the all-american canal in the South-West of the USA is an excellent example of a water resource being managed. California, a neigbouring state to Arizona and Nevada, has a very high demand for water because of its high population and what is somtimes called the “Californian life-style”.

California has tried to utilise the Colorado river as a large proportion of its water by building dams along the river. California is only entitled to 58.7% of the water from the Colorado river because the US Bureau of Reclamation, who is responsible for it, set a quota called an entitlement.

The main water managment strategy on the Colorado river was introduced in 1935 when the Hoover dam was built. It had three main reasons:

  • Water extraction for drinking water, industry etc.
  • Hydroelectric Power (HEP)
  • Flood Protection

Since the Hoover dam was built another 18 damns have been built in the Colorado river basin. Before the first dams were built on the Colorado river the seasonal fluctuations of the river were great, mainly because of storms and snow melt. Since the water managment scheme began the fluctuations of the river have dramatically decrease helping to reduce flooding in the area.