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Lower Colorado Region Program Benefits

Imperial Valley farm
Water
In a typical year, Reclamation projects in the Lower Colorado Region supply irrigation water to more than 2.5 million acres of land in the United States and Mexico, and supply more than 23 million people with municipal or industrial water.
Hydroelectric Power
Hydroelectric powerplants at Hoover, Davis and Parker Dams, and at Senator Wash Dam, generate nearly 6 billion kilowatt hours of electricity in an average year. This is enough energy to meet the average annual needs of about 2 million people. Reclamation also constructed hydroelectric powerplants at Headgate Rock Dam, Theodore Roosevelt Dam and New Waddell Dam. These benefit the Colorado River Indian Tribes, Salt River Project, and Central Arizona Project, respectively.


Powerlines from Hoover Dam

Personal watercraft races
Recreation
Fifteen major recreation areas are located on Reclamation projects in the Lower Colorado Region. These include the Nation's first national recreation site, Lake Mead National Recreation Area, which includes Lakes Mead and Mohave. With the exception of the Hoover Dam Visitor Center, these areas are managed by other governmental agencies. Together, they are visited by more than 12 million people each year. Hundreds of thousands more enjoy the recreation opportunities provided by the year-round, controlled flow of the Colorado River.


Environment
Managing, protecting, and enhancing fish and wildlife habitat and natural, cultural and recreational resources to preserve the aesthetic quality and natural environment, and to promote the safe and healthful use of reservoir lands and water, has long been part of the Lower Colorado Region's programs. Reclamation works in partnership with other Federal and State natural resource agencies to accomplish these objectives. Four national wildlife refuges and one national wildlife area were developed on the lower Colorado River to provide fish and wildlife habitat, and recreational opportunities. In addition, numerous backwater areas have been created or rehabilitated that allow many species of fish, birds and wildlife to thrive in this arid area.

Lake Mead sunset
Hoover Dam

Flood Control and Drought Protection
Although Hoover and Parker dams are the only dams on the lower Colorado River with authorized flood control functions, all Reclamation dams help prevent or minimize flooding. Since 1950, benefits realized from flood control operations on the mainstem of the Colorado River are estimated at $1.41 billion. Regional dams and reservoirs also help protect water users against drought. Since Hoover Dam was completed in 1935, there has never been a water shortage on the lower Colorado River, despite the occurrence of several drought periods in the Region's geographic area.

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Updated: January 2012