What are the three things the Hoover Dam does?
Aside from being an iconic American structure, the Hoover Dam has several practical purposes. Over the years, the Hoover Dam has played a variety of essential roles, from creating jobs during the Great Depression to supplying the region with water and electricity. Today, the Hoover Dam continues to produce water and electricity for thousands of people, and it’s also a great place to visit for recreational activities.
Economic Benefits and Jobs Creation
A site as massive as the Hoover Dam took a long time to build, and many people were involved in its construction. Since many hands were required to construct the dam, the ultimate conclusion was that the most efficient and logical option to construct the dam was to build a city nearby to house the 5,000 required workers. That city, called Boulder City, was built in the 1930s. Although the fact that the Hoover Dam supplied thousands of workers would be an impressive statistic anytime, its job creation capabilities were even more impressive because those jobs were created during the Great Depression, which supported the nation’s struggling economy and helped many families endure the economic downturn. Boulder City, which was built for the dam’s workers, was located on federally-owned land, which meant that it was subject to the rules of the US government. There were a few strict rules for the city, including that gambling and alcohol were outlawed. Boulder City was initially run and managed by a town-appointed government employee who had the authority to evict workers if they were violating rules and were no longer deemed suitable for living there. Along with full-time residents who helped build the Hoover Dam, the city was also home to a place called the Boulder Dam Hotel which hosted dignitaries and celebrities who dropped by to see the dam’s construction. There were a number of well-known individuals who came by to see the dam’s construction, ranging from Bette Davis to Pope Pius XII. Although Boulder City was established in the 1930s, it was formally declared as a city-owned and incorporated by the US government in the 1960s.
Important US Water Supply
Although it’s nearly 100 years old, the Hoover Dam remains one of the largest dams in the world, and as a result, it is a critical water supply. The Hoover Dam’s construction helped form Lake Mead, which is the largest reservoir in the country. If you want to kayak Hoover Dam in Las Vegas, you can also include a visit to Lake Mead, which is an equally beautiful place for boating. Seeing Lake Mead in person gives you an even better sense of the dam’s size and how much water it contains. Lake Mead covers nearly 250 square miles, and it holds almost 29 million acre-feet of water. The reservoir still supplies water to Nevada along with the nearby states of California and Arizona. The dam’s water supply even crosses international borders to Mexico! Lake Mead is home to the first national recreation area in the US, which was established there in 1964. If you need a break from kayaking in Vegas and you’re wondering what are some things to do at Hoover Dam besides paddling, you’ll find plenty of other activities to enjoy. Lake Mead has beaches for sunbathing, and it is also open for other recreational activities such as swimming and fishing.
Humans are not the only ones who benefit from the lake. Lake Mead also supplies many animals with habitat, including fish, birds, and desert mammals. The water supplied by Lake Mead and the Hoover Dam is just as essential for keeping the region’s agricultural industry going. In total, the Hoover Dam’s waters irrigate over 1.5 million acres of land, along with drinking water for 16 million people. The states that rely on water from the dam share their water supply through a contract called the Hoover Compromise, which the states signed when the dam was first built. That same pact remains in effect today.
Large-Scale Electricity Supply
Along with supplying millions of people with water every year, the Hoover Dam is also necessary for electricity production. When it was built, the Hoover Dam was the country’s biggest supplier of hydroelectric power. The power plant at Hoover Dam was built in 1939, and it was the largest hydroelectric power station in the world from its construction date through 1949. The Hoover Dam has a whopping 2,080 megawatt (MW) capacity. It also produces about 1 billion kWh per year to supply homes and businesses in the Las Vegas area with power. The power supply in the dam was so vast that its electric production extended to Arizona, California, and Nevada. The Hoover Dam’s electric capabilities are so extensive that the dam’s electric power production is close to that of the Three Gorges Dam in China, which started producing power in 2003 and has a maximum power output of 22,500 megawatts.
What to do at the Hoover Dam
While the Hoover Dam plays a vital role in the country’s economy, water supply, and electricity supply, there are many ways that visitors can enjoy all that the dam has to offer. Today, the Hoover Dam is one of the most scenic and popular spots for kayaking in Vegas. You can rent a kayak at or near the Hoover Dam and spend as much time as you want to explore the area. Many kayaking trips offered by Blazin’ Paddles are half-day to full-day adventures. That means you may spend a few hours out on the boat, or you might end up spending most of your time paddling from one place to the next. Signing up for a guided tour with Blazin’ Paddles, such as the Black Canyon Hoover Dam kayak tour, means you can look forward to paddling in a new and scenic location while learning about the fascinating natural and human history of the area as well. A knowledgeable kayaking guide can tell you all about the dam’s historic and current uses, along with other unique facts. If a kayaking trip sounds appealing, ask about the options available for a Hoover Dam kayak rental for you and any others who might be joining on your adventure.
If you want to do more than kayak Hoover Dam in Las Vegas, there are other activities that you can participate in while you’re visiting the dam, too. Signing up for a guided Hoover Dam tour is a great way to find out more about the dam’s comprehensive and complex history. A guided tour lasts about one hour, but you can also do a self-guided tour that allows you to explore the dam at your own pace. If you’re interested in learning more about the dam’s electric production capabilities, sign up for a tour of the power plant while you’re visiting as well. The power plant tour includes a stop at the observation deck and the Original Exhibit Building. Another fun activity is crossing the Memorial Bridge, which gives you a unique bird’s eye view of the dam and the stunning surrounding landscape.
Contact us today to learn more about kayaking in Vegas and learning more about the iconic Hoover Dam!