Benjamin Pratt & the Keepers of the School Series by Andrew Clements
Why we might not have built the Hoover Dam today
In Congress put out a bid for the project and a group called Six Companies, Inc. The Hoover Dam was the highest dam ever built and the most expensive water project of its time. The Hoover dam is the first dam of the modern era, designed without adornment to emphasize its power, to focus the eye on its smooth, arcing, awe-inspiring bulk. In seven decades we have learned that if you take away Hoover, you also take away millions of tons of salt that the Colorado once carried to the sea but which have instead been strewn across the irrigated landscape, slowly poisoning the soil. Take away the Colorado River dams, and you return the silt gathering behind them to a free-flowing river, allowing it again to enrich the downstream wetlands and the once fantastically abundant, now often caked, arid, and refuse-fouled Delta. Take away Hoover and the dams it spawned on the Colorado- Glen Canyon, Davis, Parker, Headgate Rock, Palo Verde, all the way to Morelos across the Mexican border- and you restore much of the American Southwest's landscape, including a portion of its abundant agricultural land, to shrub and cactus desert.
Of all the ways we have engineered Earth in the Anthropocene, the Age of Man, surely nothing rivals our audacious planetary-wide re-plumbing of the world's waterways. But is our control of Earth's arteries causing dangerous clots? We remain desperately dependent on water for our survival. Freshwater is so valuable that even today with our sophisticated hydroengineering systems, more than half the world's population lives within 3 kilometres 2 miles of a surface body of freshwater such as a lake or river. With seven billion of us now needing water, agriculture, industry and to generate power, the human demand on global water supplies has never been greater.
The United States government's construction of Hoover Dam, a hydroelectric and reservoir project started on the Colorado River in , was one of the most important developments in Las Vegas history, dramatically affecting its population to the present. In the first quarter century after its unofficial founding during a land auction in , Las Vegas was still known mainly as a major railroad hub in a broad, underdeveloped desert valley between Utah and California. By , Las Vegas had only about 5, residents. Nearly all of its small hotels, stores, and other businesses were concentrated on one main thoroughfare, Fremont Street. The town was infamous for its lax enforcement of liquor laws during Prohibition and its backroom brothels on Block
WPD contents. Bureau of Reclamation U.
The Power of Dams. For all the good dams do, however, they also destroy, demolish and devastate the environment. Negative environmental impacts of dams can occur upstream, downstream, and in reservoirs. In addition to habitat degradation or destruction, dams induce significant barrier effects by blocking the downstream flow of sediment and nutrients and preventing the migration of fish and other aquatic organisms. Altered flow rates may negatively impact aquatic organisms that depend on critical thresholds of water level, velocity, or timing for life history stages. Dams may also negatively impact aquatic organisms by altering water temperature and dissolved oxygen both within reservoirs and outflows. Not only does the environment change because of dams, but human health and welfare can also be affected.