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Glen Canyon Dam

Glen Canyon Dam

Glen Canyon Dam and Lake Powell

The Glen Canyon Dam was built to harness the power of the Colorado River and to provide water and electricity to millions of people in the western United States. This concrete-arch dam rises 710 feet above the bedrock and is the second-highest in the US, after Hoover Dam. Its creation led to the formation of Lake Powell, which has a storage capacity of 27 million acre-feet of water. This stored water is used to sustain the needs of cities, industries, and agriculture throughout the West during times of drought.

The Glen Canyon Powerplant produces approximately five billion kilowatt-hours of hydroelectric power annually, providing electricity to Wyoming, Utah, Colorado, New Mexico, Arizona, Nevada, and Nebraska. The revenues from the production of hydropower also fund important environmental programs associated with Glen and Grand Canyons.

The National Park Service manages the Glen Canyon National Recreation Area, which was designated in 1972 to highlight the recreational benefits of Lake Powell and the Colorado River downstream of the dam. The Glen Canyon Dam is the key water storage unit of the Colorado River Storage Project, which is one of the most extensive river resource developments globally. It has allowed for the development of the Upper Colorado River Basin states’ portion of the Colorado River.

The dam's crest length is 1,560 feet, and it contains 4,901,000 cubic yards of concrete. Its thickness at the crest is 25 feet, and the maximum base thickness is 300 feet. Two separate spillways are constructed in each abutment, each consisting of an intake structure with two 40- by 52.5-foot radial gates and a lined spillway tunnel. The outlet works near the left abutment of the dam consist of four 96-inch-diameter pipes, each controlled by one 96-inch-ring follower gate and one 96-inch hollow-jet valve.

Lake Powell's total capacity is 27 million acre-feet, with an active capacity of 20,876,000 acre-feet. At normal water surface elevation, the reservoir has a length of 186 miles and a surface area of 161,390 acres. The power plant at the toe of the dam consists of four 118,750-kilowatt and four 136,562-kilowatt generators driven by eight turbines. The total nameplate generating capacity of the powerplant is 1,021,248 kilowatts, with eight penstocks through the dam conveying water to the turbines. Each penstock reduces in size from 15 to 14 feet in diameter.

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