Davis Dam to shoulder some of Hoover’s power load on Sunday

Easter Sunday could see the rise and fall of the Colorado River in the Laughlin area, as Davis Dam ramps up its generators to shoulder some of Hoover Dam’s power load.

The power plant at Hoover usually serves as a backup source to meet peak energy demands throughout the Southwest, but Davis Dam, 67 miles downstream, will take on that role from 10 a.m. to 5 p.m. to allow for survey work associated with the Hoover Dam bypass bridge project.

U.S. Bureau of Reclamation spokesman Bob Walsh said the river could rise and fall 2 to 4 feet through the Laughlin area should Davis Dam need to release additional water for power generation.

Boaters below Davis Dam are urged to be on the lookout for sudden changes in the river’s flow.

The move will allow reclamation officials to collect depth and other measurements in the river channel below Hoover Dam.

The survey work is needed to determine whether rock excavated during construction of the new Hoover Dam bypass bridge has raised the level of the river enough to affect the dam’s power generation.

“As you back water against the generating units, you reduce their efficiency,” Walsh explained.

Gathering the necessary measurements requires a steady, unvaried flow from the dam, which means Hoover will not be able to pump additional water through its generators to make more power for several hours on Sunday .

If the survey work shows an unacceptable buildup of rocks and debris in the river channel, the bridge contractor will be required to remove it, Walsh said.

The bypass bridge is slated to open by Nov. 1.

Contact reporter Henry Brean at or 702-383-0350.

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