GrokSurf's San Diego

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Posts Tagged ‘Hoover Dam’

A tour of Hoover Dam and the Colorado River Aqueduct system

Posted by George J Janczyn on May 20, 2013

This past weekend about 30 San Diego County inhabitants and I were guests of the Metropolitan Water District of Southern California (MWD) and the San Diego County Water Authority (SDCWA) for an inspection trip to visit Hoover Dam and Colorado River Aqueduct facilities. Our tour guides were Vincent Mudd (SDCWA Director and representative to MWD’s board), Marty Hundley (MWD Inspection Trip Specialist), and Debbie Espe (SDCWA Senior Water Resources Specialist).

We assembled at SDCWA headquarters at 6:15am Friday where we were seated in the board room directors’ chairs for a brief presentation about the Water Authority, then filed onto a chartered bus to the airport, submitted to the usual TSA indignities and boarding area wait, and boarded our one-hour flight to Las Vegas. There, we rode another chartered bus to Boulder City where box lunches from The Dillinger Food and Drinkery were ready for us, and continued on to Hoover Dam. We ate our lunches in the visitor center auditorium during a speaker presentation and short film about the dam’s history. Then we began our tour.

(your smartphones won’t do these photos justice; you’ll get a much better sense of scale on a large desktop or tablet display and click the pictures for enlargements)

Hoover Dam Visitor Center, awaiting the elevator to the bottom.

Hoover Dam Visitor Center, awaiting the elevator to the bottom

Generators in the powerplant. There are nine on the Arizona wing, eight on the Nevada side.

Generators in the powerplant. There are nine on the Arizona wing, eight on the Nevada side.

Lake Mead's water level is low so reduced pressure means generators vibrate more and produce less power. A new generator design is being tested and if successful all will be replaced.

Lake Mead’s water level is low so reduced pressure means generators vibrate more and produce less power. Our guide told us a new generator designed to maintain efficiency with less water pressure is being tested and if successful, all will be replaced.

View at the bottom of the dam from the powerplant on the Arizona side.

View at the bottom of the dam from the powerplant on the Arizona side.

From the base of the dam, the power plants and the Mike O’Callaghan – Pat Tillman Memorial Bridge which allows traffic on U.S. 93 to cross directly into Arizona without having to drive over the dam.

From the base of the dam, the power plants and the new Mike O’Callaghan – Pat Tillman Memorial Bridge (Hoover Dam Bypass) which allows traffic on U.S. 93 to cross directly into Arizona without having to wait in a long line to drive over the dam.

 

Back on our bus, we backtracked a little to drive over the bypass bridge and continued southeast on U.S. 93 to Kingman, Arizona. There we turned toward the Colorado River on I-40, then SR 95, passing through Lake Havasu City (yes, we saw the London Bridge) and past Parker Dam.

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Posted in Metropolitan Water District of Southern California, Water | Tagged: , , , , , , , , , | 3 Comments »

From Lake Mead to Las Vegas and back again

Posted by George J Janczyn on September 2, 2010

A few monsoonal clouds helped only slightly with 105 degree temperatures

They don’t make a big public fuss about it and they don’t usually refer to it as such but for Las Vegans, Indirect Potable Reuse (IPR) plays a big role in helping to cope with difficult water supply issues. After drawing most of its water from Lake Mead, Las Vegas produces an average of 193 million gallons (mgd) of wastewater per day. The wastewater is treated to an advanced purification and disinfection process and is returned to Lake Mead via the Las Vegas Wash. The water is then reused by the city (and by downstream users like San Diego).

The returned water gets credited to Las Vegas as part of the calculation specifying how much water the city can draw from Lake Mead, so IPR is integral to keeping those showers and faucets running. Because of that allowance, the IPR operation in Las Vegas is commonly referred to as “Return-Flow Credits.”

Since San Diego is only now preparing to undertake a study of a small-scale IPR operation for itself while Las Vegas is already doing it full-scale, I decided to see if I could visit the Las Vegas facilities and get a feel for how IPR has worked out for them. Not only were they willing to allow me to visit, the Southern Nevada Water Authority graciously scheduled a whole series of tours for me over a three-day period. That was a special treat after a disappointment I had when I asked to visit the Alvarado Water Treatment Plant a short distance from my home in San Diego and the reply was “The Federal government made us stop the tours following 9/11 and they haven’t allowed us to start them again.”

My visit last week included visits to the two existing water pumping and transmission facilities at Lake Mead as well as the third intake under construction, the Alfred Merritt Smith Water Treatment Plant, the River Mountains Water Treatment Plant, the Water Quality Laboratory and Applied Research & Development Center, the Clark County Water Reclamation District, the Las Vegas Wash, and Lake Mead & Hoover Dam.

I’ll need to digest everything I learned and intend to write about it in the future, but for now I’d like to share some photos from the visit. You can click them for enlargements.

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Posted in Indirect potable reuse, Water | Tagged: , , , | 1 Comment »