The Dalles Lock and Dam was one of the largest, most complete, and complex multipurpose projects of its kind in the United States at the time of its construction. It provided an example for future projects benefitting navigation, recreation, water for irrigation and hydropower, fish migration, and flood mitigation. The unusual "L" configuration of the project enabled reduced construction dewatering and created a permanent shallow stilling basin that aids fish passage.
The scheme virtually reverses the flow of the Snowy River from its natural course toward the ocean and directs it inland. The entire complex includes 16 dams, seven power stations (with a production capacity of 3,740,000 kilowatts), over 90 miles of tunnels, a pumping station, and 50 miles of aqueducts.
Norris Dam impounds the Clinch River, a mountain tributary of the Tennessee River. The facility stands as a tribute and symbol of the birth of the Tennessee Valley Authority (TVA). Given broad jurisdiction over resource development in the watershed (a 40,000-square-mile basin comprising parts of Virginia, North Carolina, Georgia, Alabama, Mississippi, Kentucky, and Tennessee), the TVA was formed to plan for flood control, improve navigation, and produce hydroelectric power.
When completed in 1888 to a height of 90 feet, Sweetwater Dam was once the tallest masonry arch dam in the United States, and it led to many others of the same basic design. The original construction began in November 1886 under the direction of Frank E. Brown (civil engineer for Bear Valley Dam) with the rubble-masonry thin-arch design being 50 feet in height. Subsequently, the owner of the water system called upon civil engineer James D. Schuyler to continue and complete the project. Although the field of hydrology was very new and not fully understood at the time, Mr.
In 1918, the U.S. Reclamation Service's director and chief engineer Arthur P. Davis proposed a dam of unprecedented height to control the devastating floods on the Colorado River, generate hydroelectric power, and store the river's ample waters for irrigation and other uses.
The massive Grand Coulee Dam, on the Columbia River, is the largest concrete structure in the U.S., the largest hydroelectric facility in the U.S., and the sixth-largest hydroelectric facility in the world. It provides irrigation for up to 1.1 million acres of agricultural lands and the hydroelectric complex maintains a generating capacity of 6.8 million kilowatts. It also serves as the primary flood control for the Columbia River basin (with a capacity of 5.18 million acre-feet of water) and provides recreational opportunities on the 150-mile-long Franklin D. Roosevelt Lake.
The Fort Peck Dam was a cornerstone project of the Works Progress Administration of Franklin D. Roosevelt's New Deal. It required the largest construction plant and workforce since the construction of the Panama Canal and peaked at 11,000 workers. It was the largest dam of any type in the world for over 30 years.
One of the first major efforts to increase farming and encourage habitation in the arid regions of the western United States, the Rio Grande Project was designed to provide reliable irrigation as well as resolve a dispute over water supply with the Republic of Mexico. The project's centerpiece is Elephant Butte Dam, a concrete gravity structure 301 feet high and 1,674 feet wide. Elephant Butte Reservoir - with a surface area of 36,600 acres and a capacity of more than 2.2 million acre-feet - was the largest reservoir in the world at the time of its completion.
Before the Davis Island Lock & Dam were built, the flow of the Ohio River slowed to little more than a trickle during dry periods. For several months each year, the unreliable flow stranded Pittsburgh's steamboats, towboats, and barges.
The Davis Island Lock & Chanoine Dam experimental project was the first lock and dam ever constructed on the Ohio River. Its achievements also included the first rolling lock gates, the largest movable dam built in the 19th century, and the widest chamber in world history.
The integration of pump and turbine was the first of many to be installed in power-plant systems in the United States. It was the largest and most powerful in the world. As a "pump storage" unit in the Tennessee Valley Authority's system, it effected significant economies in the generation of electrical energy. The unit was designed by engineers of the Tennessee Valley Authority and the Allis-Chalmers Company. It was built by Allis-Chalmers.