Why Hoover Dam Water Level Changes

The Hoover Dam is iconic, and there’s nothing like getting an up close view from the perspective of a raft. The dam is not only impressive, it also boasts an interesting history  that makes a guided tour along the Hoover Dam a must for the curious traveler.

Quirky history and stunning vistas aside, some visitors to the Hoover Dam have one big question: why does the water level change? Put simply, the Hoover Dam is designed to accommodate fluctuating water levels, but environmental factors have also played a role in the changing levels of the Hoover Dam.

Prior to construction of the Hoover Dam in the mid 1930s, the Colorado River was subjected to the normal flooding that occurs when snow and ice melt each spring. This meant that many lower elevation areas would be flooded, and, at times, the river would be reduced to a low trickle. This made it very difficult to rely on a consistent source of water, and so the Hoover Dam was constructed to help harness the river, reduce flooding and damage, and allow access to public water.

Over the years, the area has experience drought, and the levels of both Lake Mead and Lake Powell have been decreasing.  According to the National Parks Service, “the variation in water flowing into Lake Mead and the water flowing out of Lake Mead causes the lake's water level or elevation to fluctuate yearly and over multi-year periods.” This is normal and how the lake is supposed to work. What’s more, Lake Mead provides water to 18 million people in Arizona, California and Nevada, a feat that might have been impossible without the creation of the Hoover Dam.

Ready to see the dam for yourself? Black Canyon river tours bring you close to the power of the Hoover Dam, and the ever-changing waters that run through it. From the Lake Mead recreation area, you’ll be transported to the Colorado River where you’ll enjoy a tour full of historical information about the Hoover Dam, plus plenty of great photo opportunities. Contact us today to book your excursion!