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Title image: UC Region Colorado River Storage Project

Glen Canyon Dam Quick Facts

Glen Canyon Dam is the principal water storage unit of the Colorado River Storage Project (CRSP). Built in a virtually inaccessible area, it is one of the major engineering and construction achievements in the United States. Glen Canyon Dam impounds Lake Powell, the second largest reservoir in the country. The water supply stored in Lake Powell represents about 80 percent of the total combined storage capacity of the four CRSP initial units. This vital storage reservoir functions like a bank account of water to be drawn upon in times of drought. Without Glen Canyon Dam, the annual water delivery obligations to the Lower Basin could likely not be met during drought periods without creating significant shortages in the Upper Basin. Water stored in Lake Powell provides municipal, industrial, agricultural benefits as well as recreation opportunities and hydropower production.

Glen Canyon Dam  
Type Concrete arch
Construction period 1957 - 1964
Prime contractor Merritt-Chapman & Scott
Height above bedrock 710 feet (216 meters)
Height above original river channel 583 feet (178 meters)
Crest length (arc at axis of dam) 1,560 feet (475 meters)
Volume of concrete:
     Dam only
     Powerplant only
     Total concrete
4,901,000 cubic yards (3,750,000 cubic meters)
469,000 cubic yards (359,000 cubic meters)
5,370,000 (4,110,000 cubic meters)
Capacity of concrete bucket 24 tons (22 metric tons)
Number of buckets of concrete 400,000 approximately
Cost of dam, powerplant & appurtenant structures $245,000,000
Glen Canyon Powerplant  
Number of generating units 8
Installed capacity 1,320,000 kilowatts
Average annual power generation 5 billion kilowatt hours
Glen Canyon Bridge  
Type Steel arch
Construction period 1957 - 1959
Height above river 700 feet (213 meters)
Span of bridge arch 1,028 feet (313.3 meters)
Length of deck 1,271 feet (387.4 meters)
Vertical rise of arch 165 feet (50.3 meters)
Lake Powell  
Start of storage March 13, 1963
Completion of initial filing June 22, 1980
Live capacity at elevation 3,700 24,322,000 acre-feet (30,001 million cubic meters)
Surface area when full 266 miles (68,900 hectares)
Length of lake 186 miles (299 kilometers)
Miles of shoreline 1,960 miles (3,150 kilometers)
Depth of water at dam when full 560 feet (171 meters)


Last updated: December 6, 2017