Routine safety evaluation will result in brief water release at Hoover Dam

Media Contact: Bob Walsh, 702.293.8421

For Release: February 25, 2004

Visitors to Hoover Dam on Thursday afternoon, Feb. 26, may notice a dramatic gush of water from the Nevada wall of Black Canyon at about 2 p.m. They should not be alarmed; the release is part of a test the Bureau of Reclamation is doing to ensure tie rods in the upper Nevada penstock of the dam are structurally sound.

"Tie rods provide key structural support to the penstocks (large pipes), which supply water to the turbines," said Hoover Dam Manager Gary Bryant. "Releasing a large flow of water through the jet flow gates allows us to test the tie rods."

The water will flow for about 30 minutes from the valve house located on the Nevada canyon wall approximately 100 feet above the Colorado River. During the test, water will speed through the valve gates at 120 feet per second, or about 83 miles per hour! The discharge through each gate, about 5,400 cubic feet per second, is enough to fill two average 20,000-gallon-size swimming pools every second.

Data from the test will be analyzed and later used in simulations at Reclamation's Denver Office.

The test was coordinated with the Hoover Dam power customers, since the water passing through the penstocks would normally pass through the dam's power generators as it flows to meet downstream needs and requirements.

Jet flow gates are water release valves designed to operate under the high pressures that exist at large dams such as Hoover Dam, and were installed in the event large amounts of water must be released from Lake Mead for flood control.

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Reclamation is the largest wholesale water supplier and the second largest producer of hydroelectric power in the United States, with operations and facilities in the 17 Western States. Its facilities also provide substantial flood control, recreation, and fish and wildlife benefits. Visit our website at and follow us on Twitter @USBR.