Hoover Dam - Flood Control and Electricity for the Southwestern USA


The Hoover Dam is located in a canyon of the Colorado River between Nevada and Arizona. It was built in the 1930s during the Great Depression by thousands of workers.

It was necessary to build the dam became the Colorado River flooded the region very often. The Colorado, which begins high up in the Rocky Mountains has a lot of water during the spring months when he snow melts. This results in widespread flooding throughout the region.

Over the ages the Colorado River has been very powerful and created impressive landscapes, like the Grand Canyon. The water cut hundreds of meters into the layers of rock and formed the canyon we see today.

During the first decade of the 20th century the force of the river and the vast amounts of water it carried caused great floods in parts of Nevada and Arizona. Water ran into the desert and created the Salton Sea. Other parts of the Colorado Basin were also flooded, in some years so heavily that people were forced to leave the area. Government and local leaders had to do something to prevent such disasters from happening.


Hoover Dam

Hoover Dam - Ubergirl

The area chosen to build the dam was called Black Canyon. Experts thought that the rock in the area was very strong and would support such a large dam. Several problems arose during the construction period. There was no railway in the area and no electric power. Temperatures in the region got very high during the summer months and almost a hundred workers lost their lives.

Work on the dam started in 1931. Slowly the construction rose out of the canyon. Big machines moved millions of tons of rock. When work was finished the dam stood out 221 meters above the canyon floor. 4 million cubic meters of concrete were used to build the Hoover Dam. Millions of tons of steel helped to make it stronger.

When the Hoover Dam was finished in 1936 it was the largest dam in the world. It not only helped control the water of the Colorado River but also supplied irrigation for the dry farming land of Nevada, Arizona and southern California. It also produces over 4 billion kwh of electricity a year and supplies the western part of America with clean, renewable energy.

The Hoover Dam was originally called Boulder Dam but renamed in 1947 in honor of Herbert Hoover, America’s 31st president. He did a lot to make construction of the dam possible. Although many larger dams have been built since then, the Hoover Dam in the American Southwest remains one of the biggest in the world.


Related Topics


  • although = while
  • arise –arose-arisen = come up
  • basin = an area of land that is lower in the middle than at the corners
  • billion = a thousand million
  • canyon = a deep valley with steep sides of rock that usually has a river running through it
  • cause = lead to
  • century = a period of a hundred years
  • concrete = mixture of sand, stones, water and cement; used to make buildings
  • construction = the building of
  • cubic meter = one square meter and one meter in height
  • decade = a period of ten years
  • desert = very dry area in which there is little or no rainfall
  • disaster = a sudden event that can cause damage and hurt or kill people
  • electricity = energy, power
  • flood =when water covers an area of land
  • force = if you must do something
  • Great Depression = time after the stock market crash of 1929 in which millions of people around the world lost their jobs and the state of the economy was very bad
  • heavy = here: much
  • honor = to show how much you admire or respect someone
  • impressive = fascinating, beautiful
  • irrigation = to spread water over dry farming land
  • landscape = formation of land
  • layer = sheet, level
  • local = from the area or region
  • located = to be found
  • melt = when ice and snow turns into water
  • necessary = needed
  • originally = at first
  • period = time
  • prevent = stop
  • remain = stay
  • renamed = to be given a new name
  • renewable = something that can be used over and over again
  • steel = strong metal that can be shaped easily
  • supply = give
  • support = hold up
  • throughout = in all of
  • vast = huge, very big
  • widespread = in a large area