Davis Dam

Coordinates: 35°11′56″N 114°34′10″W / 35.19876°N 114.56949°W / 35.19876; -114.56949
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Davis Dam
Davis Dam
Official nameDavis Dam
LocationClark County, Nevada / Mohave County, Arizona, USA
Coordinates35°11′56″N 114°34′10″W / 35.19876°N 114.56949°W / 35.19876; -114.56949
Opening date1951
Operator(s)U.S. Bureau of Reclamation
Dam and spillways
ImpoundsColorado River
Height200 feet (61 m)
Length1,600 feet (490 m)
CreatesLake Mohave
Surface area26,500 acres (10,700 ha)
Power Station
Hydraulic head135 feet (41 m)
Turbines5 Francis turbines
Installed capacity251 MW
Annual generation1148 GWh

Davis Dam is a dam on the Colorado River about 70 miles (110 km) downstream from Hoover Dam.[1] It stretches across the border between Arizona and Nevada. Originally called Bullhead Dam, Davis Dam was renamed after Arthur Powell Davis, who was the director of the U.S. Bureau of Reclamation from 1914 to 1923. The United States Bureau of Reclamation owns and operates the dam, which was completed in 1951.[2]

Davis Dam impounds the Colorado River and forms Lake Mohave.


Aerial view of Davis Dam and Lake Mohave.
Davis Dam

Davis Dam is a zoned earth-fill dam with a concrete spillway, 1,600 ft (490 m) in length at the crest, and 200 ft (61 m) high.[1] The earth fill dam begins on the Nevada side, but it does not extend to the Arizona side on the east. Instead, there is an inlet formed by earth and concrete, that includes the spillway. The hydroelectric power plant is beside the inlet.

The dam's purpose is to re-regulate releases from Hoover Dam upstream, and facilitate the delivery of Colorado River water to Mexico.[1] Bullhead City, Arizona, and Laughlin, Nevada, are located just below the dam along the river. Davis Camp is also nearby. Bullhead City was originally a construction town for workers building the dam.

A road is located on the crest of the earth fill portion of the dam and a Forebay Bridge spans the Forebay. It was formerly part of Arizona State Route 68 to Nevada. In April 2004, the roadway was shut down to vehicle traffic. Pedestrian and bicycle traffic are permitted. The old roadway is now an extension of the Heritage Trail system. Barriers have been placed on the former road at each end of the earthen dam. The facility is heavily patrolled by security forces who strictly enforce parking regulations.

Davis Dam Hydroelectric Power Plant

The Davis Dam Power Plant is a hydroelectric power plant located on the Arizona side of the dam, beside the inlet.[1] The hydroelectric plant generates between 1 and 2 terawatt-hours of electricity annually.[3] The plant has a capacity of 251 MW (337,000 hp) and the tops of its five Francis turbines are visible from outside the plant. The plant's head is 136 ft (41 m).

See also[edit]

Original engineering drawings
Original engineering drawings


  1. ^ a b c d Schweigert, Kurt P. (October 2008). "Davis Dam" (PDF). Historic American Engineering Record. Washington, D.C.: Library of Congress. Retrieved September 17, 2022.
  2. ^ US Bureau of Reclamation (n.d.). "Davis Dam". Retrieved January 31, 2021.
  3. ^ US Bureau of Reclamation (n.d.). "Davis Powerplant". Retrieved January 31, 2021.

External links[edit]