Davis Dam - Laughlin, NV

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This page last updated on 11/21/2017
(Fig. 01)
Directions - Davis Dam
Description: Davis Dam is situated in Pyramid Canyon (Fig. 01), 67 miles downstream from Hoover Dam, about 10 miles north of where the Arizona, California and Nevada boarders meet and approximately 2 miles upstream from Laughlin, Nevada and Bullhead City, Arizona. The dam itself was named after Arthur Powell Davis, a once Director of Reclamation and nephew of John Wesley Powell who explored the region in the late 1800s.
The Davis Dam Project was authorized April 26, 1941, and a contract for the construction of the dam and its associated structures was awarded in June 1942. However, work was halted after the War Production Board revoked priority ratings needed to obtain the necessary materials for construction. Work resumed in 1946, and the dam and power plant (Fig. 06) were completed in 1953 at a total cost of approximately $67 million dollars. It is a rock-fill embankment with a concrete spillway, gravity structure, intake structure and power plant.. Once completed, the body of water running through Black Canyon behind the dam was named Lake Mohave. Lake Mohave, has a total storage capacity of 1,818,300 acre-feet,

With a structural height of 200 feet and a base width of 1,400 feet, the earth filled dam itself contains 3,642,000 cubic yards of rock and earth. About 600,000 cubic yards of concrete and 23 million pounds of reinforcing steel were placed in the spillway, power plant, and other structures. The crest (top) of the dam had a width of 50 feet and a length of 1,600 feet. The spillway structure, seen on the right of the picture in (Fig. 06) has a crest elevation of 597 feet. Its three fixed-wheel regulating gates, each 50x50 feet, can handle 214,000 cubic feet of water per second. The tops of the five Francis turbines, as seen from the crest of the dam in (Fig. 07), each have a heated capacity of 48,000 kilowatts. Each turbine produces 62,200 horsepower and can discharge 6,200 cubic feet of water per second.

The Davis Dam Power Plant is located on the Arizona side of the dam. The hydroelectric plant generates between 1 and 2 terawatt-hours of electricity 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 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.
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11/15/2017 Trip Notes:  Today I accompanied Jim Herrington on a trip to Laughlin and the Davis Dam. As this was his first visit to the area, before heading into Laughlin, we hiked around the dam to gather a few pictures. From the Heritage Greenway Park (Fig. 10 below) we hiked up the road that runs along the left side of the dam. From the park this walk climbs nearly 200 feet to the top of the dam. Looking south from the top of the dam, you get a good view of the river as it runs down to the town of Laughlin (Fig. 1A). Looking north, you get to look up the Mojave Lake (Fig. 1B). As you walk more than a thousand feet across the top of the dam you come to a bridge (Fig. 1C) that crosses over the channel that funnels the lake into the backside of the dam (Fig. 1D). The dam has a regular hourly schedule for releasing water downstream. Notice the water being released in picture (Fig. 1A0. Releases average about 7,000 cubic feet per second (cfs) each day, but the current release pattern will change this coming December. Presently, releases from Davis Dam average about 9,200 cfs (2 generating units) between 10:00 a.m. and 10:00 p.m. Mountain Standard Time, and 4,600 cfs (1 unit) in the evening and early morning hours.

(Fig. 1A)
(Fig. 1B)
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(Fig. 1D)

12/19/2013 Trip Notes: Today’s visit to the Davis Dam and the Colorado River Heritage Greenway Park and Trails was with the rock-hounds from the Henderson Heritage Park’s Senior Facility. Information and pictures from this trip are divided between this page and my post for the Colorado River Heritage Park & Trails. The sunrise in (Fig. 02) was taken in the parking lot of the Heritage Park’s Senior Facility as we were boarding the van for our early morning ride to Laughlin and the Davis Dam. After taking the road leading down to the dam, we reached the picnic area referred to as the “North Reach” of the Greenway Park & Trails system. The majority of the group decided to hike to the top of the dam and across to the Arizona side of Lake Mojave. Some hiked the trail that led south along the river; and some of us hiked the trails that led up to the mountain ridge overlooking the dam, as seen behind the park's picnic area in (Fig. 10 - bottom). (Fig. 03) is a view from the Overlook Trail looking east towards the Arizona side of the river. (Fig. 04) is a view looking west towards the Spirit Mountain Range. Once we reached the top of this trail, we were afforded great views (Fig. 05) overlooking the dam and Lake Mojave.
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10/31/2013 Trip Notes: I stopped here today to capture some pictures after a morning of hiking just up the road to Hiko Spring and Grapevine Canyon. Though I have been here before, the weather on previous visits did not provide very good picture taking opportunities. As the road that crosses the top of the dam is closed to all vehicular traffic, I spent some time hiking to the crest of the dam. Standing near the middle of the dam, the view in (Fig. 08) is looking north toward Lake Mojave. The picture in (Fig. 09) is looking east along the 1,600 foot length of the dam’s crest towards the Arizona shoreline. (Fig. 07) is a view from the top of the dam looking southeast towards Bullhead City. The final picture (Fig. 10) shows “North Reach”, the northern portion of the Colorado River Heritage Greenway Park and Trails. (Be sure to click to enlarge so you can read the inserted text notes) 
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