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The Colorado River Essay

1502 words - 7 pages

The Colorado River is the seventh longest river. In the 1920’s Western states began dividing up the water in the Colorado River by building dams and divert river flow to San Diego, Phoenix, and other large cities in order to supply water to these cities. In the past the river has been known for being a major source of water and electricity. The Colorado River passes through Utah, Arizona, Colorado, Nevada, California, Baja California, and Sonora. During the past decade a drought has been sweeping the Southwest resulting in a lowered river level. The Colorado River still goes through the Grand Canyon. The river is a total of 1,450 miles long. The headwaters of the Colorado River can be ...view middle of the document...

5 million acre-feet annually in accordance with the Colorado River Compact of 1922 ("Colorado River Facts"). As time went on, more compacts, treaties, agreements and court decisions came into play in order to divide the Colorado River waters fairly between states, Native American tribes and Mexico ("Colorado River Facts").
The damming and diverting of the Colorado River is a controversial topic as some see it as a benefit by some while others see it as a danger to natural processes. Over a hundred dams have been built along the Colorado River by the Bureau of Reclamation and the Army Corps of Engineers for flood control, for hydroelectricity, storage of agricultural water and municipal water as well as create a steady water supply for the Colorado River ("The Colorado River"). Over allocation and drought have put significant stress on the water storage and reservoirs, even though there are major benefits that come from this process ("The Colorado River"). Tributaries and reservoirs along the river are controlled by the dams. The dams found along the river are all fairly large.
In the main stem of the Colorado River the only major dam is the Glen Canyon Dam. Along the lower basin the Hoover Dam controls Lake Mead, a major reservoir. Behind the Hoover Dam water is used for power generation, irrigation, municipal, industrial use, flood control, and recreation ("Colorado River"). The Alamo Dam and the reservoir it created is used for flood control ("Colorado River"). In the lower part of the Colorado River one may find storage dams and diversion dams. The Davis Dam further downstream has created Lake Mohave and is used for power generation at the Davis Power Plant ("Colorado River."). The storage dams include the Davis Dam which was built due to the 1944 Treaty to regulate water flow to Mexico and the Parker Dam which built in 1938 in order to create low cost energy for Southern California and Arizona; both created lakes and were built under the Parker-Davis Project ("Dams Along the Lower Colorado River"). The Parker Dam creates Lake Havasu. Diversion dams include Headgate Rock Dam, Palo Verde Diversion Dam, Senator Wash Dam, Imperial Diversion Dam, Laguna Dam and Morelos Dam ("Dams Along the Lower Colorado River"). The Morelos Dam was built by Mexico in 1950 to divert allotted water to Mexico; this was built under the 1944 Treaty, while the Laguna Dam was built in 1909 under the Yuma Project to divert water to Yuma farmlands ("Dams Along the Lower Colorado River"). The Imperial Division Dam, Senator Wash Dam and the Laguna Dam are operated by the Imperial Irrigation District ("Dams Along the Lower Colorado River"). The Imperial Division Dam was built in 1938 and its main function is to divert water to the All American Canal in California and to the Gila Gravity Main Canal in Arizona; the goal of the Senator Wash Dam is to improve scheduling of the Colorado River ("Dams Along the Lower Colorado River"). The Palo Verde Diversion Dam...

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