Davis Dam

Colorado River and Lake Mohave

The Davis Dam and Powerplant facility was constructed by the Bureau of Reclamation in Pyramid Canyon, 67 miles downstream from Hoover Dam. The site is about 10 miles north of the point where Arizona, Nevada and California meet, and approximately 2 miles upstream from the Laughlin, Nevada/Bullhead City, Arizona, communities. The dam created Lake Mohave

The site was named in 1941 in honor of Arthur Powell Davis, U.S. Director of Reclamation from 1914 to 1932. Davis was one of a small group of men whose courage, foresight and vision sparked the beginning of Colorado River development. Completed in 1953, Davis Dam is an earth and rock-fill embankment with a concrete spillway, gravity structure, intake structure and powerplant.

The primary purpose of Davis Dam is to re-regulate Hoover Dam releases to meet downstream needs, including the annual delivery of 1.5 million acre-feet of water to Mexico. This is in accordance with the 1944 water treaty with Mexico. Lake Mohave also provides recreation and habitat for fish and wildlife. Additionally the lake captures and delays the discharge of flash floods from side washes below Hoover Dam.

Located on the Arizona side of the river, the Davis Dam Powerplant is immediately downstream from the dam embankment. The forebay is formed by the intake, spillway and gravity structures. The powerplant adds substantially to the Colorado River hydroelectric energy pool by generating 1 to 2 billion kilowatt-hours annually. This energy is used in the Southwest to turn the wheels of industry and pump water from wells to irrigate farmlands and water livestock.

The Davis Dam and Powerplant facility was constructed at a cost of approximately $67 million, this amount was paid from power revenues. Contributions also came from the Federal Highway Administration and the State of Arizona for bridge and highway construction.

Lower Colorado Dams Project

Davis Dam is part of the Lower Colorado Dams Project headquartered at Hoover Dam. The project also includes Parker Dam. Hoover, Davis and Parker dams which are operated integrally to control floods along the river and furnish hydroelectric energy through interconnections with Western Area Power Administration power systems.

Transmission System

The Davis Dam Powerplant is linked with a federal power distribution system operated by the Western Area Power Administration. The total system consists of 2,100 miles of high-voltage transmission lines serving 43 power substations in Arizona, Nevada and California, comprising a total of 3.8 million kVA (kilovoltampere) transformer capacity, and supplies power to a number of utilities and other entities in this area.

Western's dispatching headquarters in Phoenix, Arizona, the nerve center of the transmission system, has the capacity of interconnecting energy from the plants in the Lower Colorado River Basin with the power generating facilities in the Upper Colorado River Basin and the Pacific Northwest. The facility can direct the flow of more than 4 billion kilowatt-hours of Colorado River hydroelectric energy annually.

Video available on this subject. Movie on Laughlin, Lake Mohave and Davis Dam - Click Here

Vital Statistics

Davis Dam

Type: Zoned earthfill
Volume: 3,642.000 cubic yards (2,784.509 cubic meters)
Structural height: 200 feet (61 meters)
Hydraulic height: 140 feet (43 meters)
Maximum base width: 1400 feet (427 meters)
Crest width: 50 feet (15 meters)
Crest length: 1,600 feet (488 meters)
Crest elevation: 655 feet (200 meters)

Spillway Structure

Type: Concrete. ogee weir, surmounted by 3 fixed-wheel
regulating gates, each 50x50 feet (15 x 15 Meters)
Crest elevation: 597 feet (182 meters)
Capacity: 214,000 cubic feet per second at reservoir elevation 647 feet (6.060 cubic meters per second at reservoir elevation 197 meters)


Intake Structure

Type: Concrete
Number of penstocks: 5
Penstock diameter: 22 feet (7 meters)
Penstock gates: 17.5 x 34.66 feet
(5.334 x 10.564 meters)
Crest elevation: 533 feet (162.5 meters)

Davis Powerplant

Maximum head: 138 feet (42 meters)
Number of generating units: 5
Heated capacity of each generator: 48,000 kilowatts
Horsepower of each turbine: 62.200
Max. discharge of each turbine: 6,200 cubic feet per second




Magnificent Lakes Mead & Mohave
Paradise at Lake Havasu



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