Throwback Thursday - Past and Present - Hoover Dam & Lake Mead

By
Real Estate Agent with Coldwell Banker Realty NRDS # 146013739

Hoover Dam - Past and Present

Hoover Dam Past and Present

I was looking through some boxes of pictures and was shocked to find these images of Hoover Dam.  We made many trips to Hoover Dam.  We would bring the kids and take them on a tour of the entire dam. 

I remember one time I was looking over the edge closer to the Arizona side of the dam when all of a sudden, I saw an empty soda can going down the face of the dam.  I couldn't believe someone would be so stupid to throw their soda can over the dam.  I watched it take forever to get to the bottom. After all, it is light, and there were updrafts.  Well, to my surprise, I found out it was my older son who threw that can over the edge.  I was mortified!

The dam gets about 7,000,000 visitors a year.  I have thoroughly enjoyed touring it every time we have been there.

Have Times Changed!

Never did realize back then (1986) that we wouldn't able to drive over that dam because of national security.  I also would never have guessed that the water level would drop to the level it is today.

Hoover Dam is projected to drop one-third of its overall capacity by September of 2023. Check out the pictures below.

The image below shows the Las Vegas area and the Lake Mead water line back in 1984.  The image below this one shows the same area in 2021.  Notice how the Las Vegas Metropolitan area has grown and the Lake Mead area has diminished.

1984

1984 Satelite image

2021

Las Vegas and Lake Mead  2021

Water Line Comparison

The following two images were taken (coincidently) from about the same location, one in 1986 and the second in 2021.  You can see the mountains and the intake towers.  Rick is covering the closest intake tower.  The lake was at about its fullest when I snapped this pic.

1986

Rick-Hoover Dam 1986

2021

2021 Water level of Hoover Dam

Power output is down 33%.  Why?  The water going through the penstocks (intakes above) is being pushed at less pressure.  The turbines can't generate the same amount of electricity as they can when the lake is at full capacity with more water pressure going through the penstocks. 

How Much Power Does Hoover Dam Generate?

Currently, the dam is generating electricity for 675,000 homes.  At full capacity, it can generate enough electricity for 1 million homes.

About 50% of the power generated goes to California, while Nevada gets about 22%, and Arizona gets 20%.  All I can say is continue to pray for rain and Colorado snowpack!

Fun Quote

The beaver told the rabbit as they stared at the Hoover Dam: "No, I didn't build it myself, but it's based on an idea of mine!"  Charles Hard Townes

 

Comments (29)

Kat Palmiotti
406-270-3667, kat@thehousekat.com, Broker/REALTOR® - Kalispell, MT
Helping your Montana dreams take root

I'm hoping those water levels start going back up - rain/snow is needed!

Nov 11, 2022 05:03 AM
Brian England
Arizona Focus Realty - Gilbert, AZ
MBA, GRI, REALTOR® Real Estate in East Valley AZ

Perhaps the soda can just fell out of his hand rather than him doing it on purpose?  Or did he get a whooping, haha.

Nov 11, 2022 05:04 AM
Lawrence "Larry" & Sheila Agranoff. Cell: 631-805-4400
The Top Team @ Charles Rutenberg Realty 255 Executive Dr, Plainview NY 11803 - Plainview, NY
Long Island Condo and Home Specialists

Your story and your photos are outstanding Sheri of how difference things are these days!

Nov 11, 2022 05:41 AM
Sheri Sperry - MCNE®
Coldwell Banker Realty - Sedona, AZ
(928) 274-7355 ~ YOUR Solutions REALTOR®

Hi Hannah Williams -  The PHX news, which is what we get, has been doing stories about the water levels in Mead and Powell.  There are sunken boats and even buildings that are now visible. 

Nov 11, 2022 07:14 AM
Sheri Sperry - MCNE®
Coldwell Banker Realty - Sedona, AZ
(928) 274-7355 ~ YOUR Solutions REALTOR®

Hi Wanda Kubat-Nerdin - Wanda Can! - Back when the Hoover Dam was built, the only populated area that needed the electricity was Southern California.  It boomed in the 1930s, so water and electricity were huge. 

Nov 11, 2022 07:17 AM
Sheri Sperry - MCNE®
Coldwell Banker Realty - Sedona, AZ
(928) 274-7355 ~ YOUR Solutions REALTOR®

Hi Lynnea Miller - It is all about the snow pack. 

Nov 11, 2022 07:18 AM
Sheri Sperry - MCNE®
Coldwell Banker Realty - Sedona, AZ
(928) 274-7355 ~ YOUR Solutions REALTOR®

Hi Joan Cox - The last time we went over Hoover Dam, they were still building the overpass to bypass traffic on the dam.  It took us an extra 2 hours to get to Las Vegas because every car needed to be checked crossing the dam.

Nov 11, 2022 07:21 AM
Sheri Sperry - MCNE®

We were going to a Celine Dion concert that night so we barely got there in time.  BTW - The concert was well worth it!

Nov 11, 2022 10:46 AM
Joan Cox

That had to be frustrating, especially if you had a timeframe.

Nov 11, 2022 10:21 AM
Sheri Sperry - MCNE®
Coldwell Banker Realty - Sedona, AZ
(928) 274-7355 ~ YOUR Solutions REALTOR®

Hi Leanne Smith - The Bureau of Reclamation manages the Colorado River System and I read that they were letting less water out of Lake Powell into Mead to help manage the shortage.   There is probably a lot that has to do with the eco-system of the river as well as the management of the water storage. 

Nov 11, 2022 07:25 AM
Sheri Sperry - MCNE®
Coldwell Banker Realty - Sedona, AZ
(928) 274-7355 ~ YOUR Solutions REALTOR®

Hi Michael Jacobs - One  more thing to add to the mix...The news also shows horrific stories of all sorts of things including people who are resurfacing as the water level diminishes. Stories like this are more on our local news channels.

Nov 11, 2022 07:28 AM
Sheri Sperry - MCNE®
Coldwell Banker Realty - Sedona, AZ
(928) 274-7355 ~ YOUR Solutions REALTOR®

Hi Jeff Dowler, CRS - Years ago before YouTube, the Tourist Center at Hoover Dam showed a video of the history and how it was made.  It is so interesting. 

On the tour, they take you into the area where the turbines are at as well as the very bottom of the dam, outside and you can look up at the dam.  They also take you through the rock tunnel that leads to one of the penstocks.  You can feel the vibration of the water below your feet as it travels through the turbine. 

Nov 11, 2022 07:39 AM
Sheri Sperry - MCNE®
Coldwell Banker Realty - Sedona, AZ
(928) 274-7355 ~ YOUR Solutions REALTOR®

Hi Nina Hollander, Broker - Excellent point.  Another fascinating story is the "water wars" between central and southern California.  The movie China Town depicted that real story. 

Nov 11, 2022 07:43 AM
Sheri Sperry - MCNE®
Coldwell Banker Realty - Sedona, AZ
(928) 274-7355 ~ YOUR Solutions REALTOR®

Hi Endre Barath, Jr. -  The cleanest energy that can be used is nuclear power.  The power plants that are built today are more safe.  But California needs about 20 small nuclear power plants to meet the needs. 

Nov 11, 2022 07:46 AM
Sheri Sperry - MCNE®
Coldwell Banker Realty - Sedona, AZ
(928) 274-7355 ~ YOUR Solutions REALTOR®

Hi Kat Palmiotti - I think it is all about the snow pack.  That is influenced by the water patterns in the pacific ocean. 

Nov 11, 2022 07:48 AM
Sheri Sperry - MCNE®
Coldwell Banker Realty - Sedona, AZ
(928) 274-7355 ~ YOUR Solutions REALTOR®

Hi Brian England - LOL!  I only saw the can going down.  I never saw who threw it. By the time I asked the boys about it, it had already happened.  No whooping haha! Just a stern talking with him.  He admitted it.  I don't think he realized the ramifications of doing that. 

Nov 11, 2022 10:39 AM
Sheri Sperry - MCNE®
Coldwell Banker Realty - Sedona, AZ
(928) 274-7355 ~ YOUR Solutions REALTOR®

Hi Lawrence "Larry" & Sheila Agranoff. Cell: 631-805-4400,

I do remember that there was so much water in that lake that they had to use the spillway.  They were worried that the river downstream would flood low lying areas. 

This is not a worry today!

Nov 11, 2022 10:43 AM
Kathy Streib
Cypress, TX
Home Stager/Redesign

HI Sheri- I love Before and After photos and these are amazing. We read all of the time about the need for rain but these photos prove it. That "fun quote" cracked me up!!!

Nov 11, 2022 06:02 PM
Myrl Jeffcoat
Sacramento, CA
Greater Sacramento Realtor - Retired

National news has been covering the situation at Hoover Dam and Lake Mead.  The situation seems dire.  Yes, we need to pray for snow and rain. 

Nov 11, 2022 08:05 PM
Roy Kelley
Retired - Gaithersburg, MD

Thank you very much, Sheri, for this very interesting post. 

Many parts of the country will continue to have water access issues.

Nov 13, 2022 12:43 PM
Paul S. Henderson, REALTOR®, CRS
Fathom Realty Washington LLC - Tacoma, WA
South Puget Sound Washington Agent/Broker!

It is truly amazing what a drought and dependence on just one source of water leads to Sheri Sperry - MCNE® 

Nov 13, 2022 03:12 PM
Joan Cox
House to Home, Inc. - Denver Real Estate - 720-231-6373 - Denver, CO
Denver Real Estate - Selling One Home at a Time

Sheri, it is fun to look back and see what things looked like decades ago!  

Dec 17, 2022 07:19 AM