Lake Havasu

From Wikipedia, the free encyclopedia
Jump to: navigation, search
For the city, see Lake Havasu City, Arizona.
Lake Havasu
Lake Havasu 1.jpg
Lake from Parker Dam
Location Arizona, California
Coordinates 34°29′N 114°23′W / 34.483°N 114.383°W / 34.483; -114.383Coordinates: 34°29′N 114°23′W / 34.483°N 114.383°W / 34.483; -114.383
Type Reservoir
Primary inflows Colorado River
Primary outflows Colorado River
Basin countries United States
Surface area 19,300 acres (7,800 ha)
Average depth 35 ft (11 m)
Max. depth 90 ft (27 m)
Islands 1
Settlements Lake Havasu City, Arizona
Lake Havasu with Lake Havasu City, Arizona on the east shore (right) and Havasu Lake, California on the western shore (left).

Lake Havasu is a large reservoir behind Parker Dam on the Colorado River, on the border between California and Arizona. Lake Havasu City sits on the lake's eastern shore. The lake has a capacity of 648,000 acre feet (799,000,000 m3). The concrete arch dam was built by the United States Bureau of Reclamation between 1934 and 1938. The lake's primary purpose is to store water for pumping into two aqueducts. Prior to the dam construction, the area was home to the Mohave Indians. In the early 1800s it was frequented by beaver trappers. Spaniards also began to mine the area along the river.



Mark Wilmer Pumping Plant pumps water into the Central Arizona Project Aqueduct. Whitsett Pumping Plant is located on the lake, and lifts the water 291 feet (89 m) for the Colorado River Aqueduct. Gene Pumping Plant is just south of Parker Dam, and gives the water an additional boost of 303 feet (92 m). The Colorado River Aqueduct has three more pumping plants, Iron Mountain, 144 feet (44 m), Eagle Mountain, 438 feet (134 m) and Julian Hinds, 441 feet (134 m). The total lift is 1,617 feet (493 m).

Lake Havasu City[edit]

London Bridge at Lake Havasu.

Robert Paxton McCulloch (May 11, 1911 – February 25, 1977) was an American entrepreneur most notable for McCulloch Chainsaws and for purchasing the old London Bridge and moving it to one of the cities he founded, Lake Havasu City, Arizona. Lake Havasu sparked the imagination of McCulloch, who purchased 3,500 acres (1,400 ha) of lakeside property along Pittsburgh Point, the peninsula that eventually would be transformed into "the island".

Natural history[edit]

The shorelines are in the ecotone (transition zone) of the higher Mojave Desert to the lower Sonoran Desert and its Californian Colorado Desert ecoregions.

The Havasu National Wildlife Refuge is located at the upper end and upriver. Lake Havasu State Park is along the eastern shore in Arizona. The Bill Williams River National Wildlife Refuge extends southeastward up the riparian zone of the Bill Williams River canyon from the southeastern end of the reservoir and dam.


Early-morning fishing on Lake Havasu

Lake Havasu is well known for its recreational fishing and boating, which bring in 750,000 visitors a year.[1] Fishing tournaments are often held on the lake, where bass are the main catch.

White sturgeon were stocked in Lake Havasu in 1967 and 1968 from stock obtained from San Pablo Bay, California. While some dead sturgeon were found downstream from Havasu (probably killed during passage over dams), living fish have not been recorded, but may still exist along the southern end of Lake Havasu near Parker Dam.[2] Sturgeon have been known to grow upwards of 20 feet (6 meters) and can live in excess of 100 years and many in and around Lake Havasu continue in their efforts to catch a glimpse of the majestic animal.


The lake was named (in 1939) after the Mojave word for blue.[3]

See also[edit]


  1. ^ according to the Lake Havasu City Convention & Visitors Bureau
  2. ^ "Acipenser transmontanus". Retrieved 2008-01-05. 
  3. ^ Gudde, Erwin G. (1959). 1000 California Place Names (3rd ed.). Los Angeles: University of California Press. p. 33. ISBN 0-520-01432-4. 

External links[edit]