The Watering Hole: September 30 – Hydroelectric

This is our open thread. Please feel free to offer your own comments.

On this date in 1935 Hoover Dam (called Boulder Dam at the time ) spanning the Colorado River between Arizona and Nevada was dedicated. It left behind Lake Meade and a recovering western economy. Water passed through its turbines at near terminal velocity which was only dampened throttled in order to eliminate cavitation which would have reduced efficiency and caused erosion of the turbine blades. The dam was a key factor in America’s WWII effort only foreshadowed by the TVA. The Manhattan Project was a mere afterthought in the war effort.

Boulder Dam 1942 - Ansel Adams

Boulder Dam 1942 - Ansel Adams

Update: I changed “only dampened” to “throttled” in order to describe the process in ME terms. My engineering degree is in EE and we use another set of terms. As I understand ME terms, damping describes a static process of flow restriction while throttling describes a dynamic process with feedback that controls the feed velocity of a fluid or gas. WTM

After the war, it powered the economic engine in the west and fueled the gambling meccas in Nevada. Lake Meade was a prime recreational area from the late 40’s up until the 80’s. Not everything was sun shine and bliss. Species downstream have become endangered due to the effects of the dam on their environment. The salt front where the Colorado enters the sea (when it is flowing) is slowly moving upstream, really pissing off Mexico. Most of that is actually due to irrigation of United State’s factory farms, but the dam still takes partial blame.

39 thoughts on “The Watering Hole: September 30 – Hydroelectric

  1. Last night, Jon Stewart talked about Hannity’s campaign to stop government intervention.

    Right now, I am not able to provide a proper link to the story. I agree… stop the government intervention… destroy that dam, let the river return to its natural state. That would be stopping government intervention.

  2. That’s one mighty dam. There’s something about diverting water into the desert that annoys me. Perhaps it is all the water that gets wasted on watering grass lawns to make the desert look like the East coast and all the water that gets wasted by fountains from tossing it into the air. Next to oxygen, water is our next most precious resource.

  3. What this country needs is a national aquaduct system. We should try to figure out a way to bring heavy rainfall from one part of the country to drought-stricken places that need it. But we have to do it in a way that does not, essentially, privatize the water supply in this country (especially when it comes down as rain, which no one owns.) Unfortunately, that’s the only way the Republican Party would get behind such an effort – if someone can make a lot of money off of it. Then, and only then, will they see it as something worth pursuing. Gotta get back to work now. See ya later.

  4. I’ve taken that tour and the dam is pretty impressive. I agree that dams should be done away with. This may sound crazy, but a friend of mine wanted to buy some land in LV several years ago and I said you’ve got to be crazy. The waters going to run out sometime (either this generation or the next) and your crazy if you think states with water are going to keep sending it to LV just so billionaires can keep their casinos.

    O.k., maybe I’m off on my timeline, but I think the sentiments right.

    Wayne, the aquaduct system sounds interesting. The first thing that came to mind is we could have gotten water to N.O. but it still wouldn’t have been sent if the r.’s were in charge.

  5. The US has an agreement (or treaty?) with Mexico saying water will always flow from the Colorado all the way to the ocean. I doubt we’ve been in compliance with that agreement for over 40 years.

  6. The biggest problem we have with water is our generally cavalier attitude towards it. Particularly in areas like the Southwest. The ideas of lush lawns and shrubs in the desert might be aesthetically pleasing but not real smart. There is a reason Tucson isn’t the rice growing capital of the world.

    The other part is we are not real savvy about reclaiming water. This is a ‘green’ area that needs a lot more attention.

  7. by fits and jerks. One day is chilly, blustery and rainy and then it evens out. Sort of typical but the swings seem more radical.

  8. Wayne, I’m not at all in favor of aqueducts, sorry. California has been trying to divert water from the Columbia River for years, regardless of the effect on Oregon and Washington (or salmon). Moving water around the country is what was done with the Colorado River, and encourages development beyond the land’s capacity.

  9. gummy,
    Beyond the effect of tapping the waterways is global warming.The great engineering monuments of the past are in process of being rendered ineffective by early snow melt. Entire regions in Asia will not have water to slake the thirst of people living there during summer months.
    We are also running out of space to store or bury the ash residue left by the burning of coal.

  10. Democratic Committees all over Pennsylvania are sending resolutions to the Democrats in DC stating that if the Democrats in Congress don’t support President Obama’s strong public option in health care reform, then these Democrats will not be supported both financially and with troops on the ground during next year’s election. In other words, the Democrats that don’t support the public option will be on their own.

  11. I believe I’ve discovered a clue in the mystery of WordPress gravatars. This afternoon I’ve been here with Google Chrome, and Zooey is the rose, Hoodathunk is the Mule. I just switched to IE and Zooey is the painting and Hoodathunk is the Greyhound with the banner. So the gravatar seen depends on which browser you are using. Maybe also depends on which browser you were using when you made the change?

  12. House, it also depends on the phase of the moon, how many jelly beans are in the jar and what was the last kind of gum you chewed.

  13. Brad Friedman of Bradblog is subbing for Mike Malloy tonight. An update of the Sibel Edmonds story is promised.
    Listen live now on KTLK 1150 or in two hours on 620KPOJ.

  14. His dad is OK then? That’s good.
    Time to back up and listen to Brad on KPOJ. The first hour is the Edmonds story. I want to hear it again.

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