Davis Dam is located just north of the Laughlin, Nevada bridge to Bullhead City, Arizona on the Colorado River. North of the dam is Lake Mohave part of the Lake Mead National Recreation Area. SELF GUIDED TOURS ARE NO LONGER AVAILABLE at Davis Dam.
The site was named in 1941 for Arthur Powell Davis, U.S. Director of Reclamation from 1914 to 1932. Arthur Davis was a man whose vision sparked the beginning of Colorado River development. Davis Dam, completed in 1953, is an earth and rock-filled dam with a concrete spillway, gravity structure, intake structure and powerplant.
The primary purpose of Davis Dam is to re-regulate Hoover Dam releases to meet downstream needs, including the annual water delivery of 1.56 million acre-feet to Mexico. Lake Mohave also provides recreation and habitat for fish and wildlife. Also the lake captures and delays the discharge of flash floods from side washes below Hoover Dam during the monsoon season.
Located on the Arizona side of the river but, north of Laughlin, Nevada, the Davis Dam Power plant is immediately downstream from the dam. The fore bay is formed by the intake, spillway and gravity structures. The power plant adds 1 to 2 billion kilowatt-hours annually to the Colorado River hydroelectric energy pool. This energy is used in the Southwest to pump water from wells to irrigate farmlands and water livestock. It is also used for industry purposes.
The Davis Dam and Powerplant facility was constructed at a cost of $67 million and is expected to be paid off next year. This amount is being repaid from power revenues. Contributions also came from the Federal Highway Administration and the State of Arizona.
Lower Colorado Dams Project
Davis Dam is part of the Lower Colorado Dams Project headquartered at Hoover Dam. The project also includes Parker Dam. Hoover, Davis and Parker dams which are operated integrally to control floods along the river, thus protecting Laughlin and towns downstream and furnish hydroelectric energy through interconnections with Western Area Power Administration power systems.
Davis Dam water release report call 1.928.754.3666
Roadway Over Davis Dam Closed to Public Traffic
On April 12, 2004, the roadway across Davis Dam was closed to all public traffic. The closure is in effect 24 hours a day, 7 days a week, for an indefinite time. Pedestrian and bicycle access to the dam is still allowed, however.
The closure was the latest in a series of security measures that have been implemented at the dam since 1997, when self-guided tours of the facility were discontinued.
Following the events of September 11, 2001, trucks were prohibited from crossing the dam, and it was placed under guard 24 hours a day. In early 2003, after further security assessments of the facility, the determination was made to close the roadway over the dam to any vehicle weighing more than one ton. In 2004, the decision was made to close the roadway to all public traffic.
Structurally, Davis Dam is safe and sound. There is no direct security threat to the dam, but Reclamation determined it was necessary to close the roadway. This will ensure the dam remains safe, and continues to provide the residents of and visitors to Bullhead City, Laughlin and other communities downstream of the dam the high level of flood protection, recreational and economic benefits it has provided for the last 50 years.
Lower Colorado Dams Area Office
Davis Dam is part of the Lower Colorado Dams Area Office, headquartered at Hoover Dam. The project also includes Parker Dam. Hoover, Davis and Parker Dams are operated integrally to control floods along the river and furnish hydroelectric energy through interconnections with Western Area Power Administration power systems.
Power Transmission System
The Davis Dam Powerplant is linked with a federal power distribution system operated by the Western Area Power Administration. The total system consists of 2100 miles of high-voltage transmission lines serving 43 power substations in Arizona, Nevada, and California which supplies power to a number of utilities and other entities in this area.
Western’s dispatching headquarters in Phoenix, the nerve center of the transmission system, can interconnect energy from the plants in the Lower Colorado River Basin with power generating facilities in the Upper Colorado River Basin and the Pacific Northwest. The facility can direct the flow of more than 4 billion kilowatt-hours of Colorado River hydroelectricenergy annually.
Lake Mohave, behind Davis Dam, is part of Lake Mead National Recreation Area administered by the National Park Service. The area around the lake and along the Colorado River below Davis Dam provides a multitude of recreational opportunities, including fishing, boating, swimming, water skiing, camping, picnicking, exploring, photography and just plain relaxing.
Facilities for public use are located at Katherine’s Landing in Arizona near Davis Dam and at Cottonwood Cove east of Searchlight, Nevada. Public campgrounds are available at these locations where concessionaires provide trailer parks, restaurants, lodging, docking facilities, boat and fishing tackle equipment, and fishing licenses. A fishing license from either Arizona or Nevada to which a special-use stamp from the opposite state is attached, is required for those wishing to fish on Lake Mead or Lake Mohave. Rainbow trout are found in the cool, clear water at the upper end of Lake Mohave, while largemouth and striped bass can be taken from the lower reaches of the lake.
SELF GUIDED TOURS ARE NO LONGER AVAILABLE at Davis Dam.
Type: Zoned earthfill
Height: 200 feet (61 meters)
Crest length: 1600 feet (488 meters)
Crest width: 50 feet (15 meters)
Base Width: 1400 feet (427 meters)
Volume of earthfill: 3.64 million cubic yards (2,784,509 cubic meters)
Number of generating units: 5
Nameplate capacity: 48 megawatts
Maximum Head: 138 feet (42 meters)
Horsepower of each turbine: 62,200
Capacity: 1,818,300 acre-feet (2,242,853,000 cubic meters)
Surface Area: 44 square miles
(114 square kilometers)
Length: 67 miles (108 kilometers)
Max lake elevation: 647 feet (197 meters)