This page features photos of Parker Dam, located along the Colorado River on the Arizona-California border.
Built between 1934 and 1938 by the Bureau of Reclamation, Parker Dam is a 320-foot-tall concrete arch structure. Engineers had to dig deep to find bedrock under the Colorado River, so 73 percent of the structure is not visible, making it the deepest dam ever created.
In 1934, construction of the dam was temporarily halted by Arizona, which declared martial law, called up National Guard troops and deployed its “navy” of two ships. Arizona claimed California was stealing its water, but the project eventually resumed.
Parker Dam impounds the Colorado River 155 miles downstream from Hoover Dam and creates Lake Havasu. This reservoir has a total capacity of 646,200 acre-feet and serves as the water source for the Central Arizona Project and the Colorado River Aqueduct, two diversions that provide drinking water to large portions of Southern Arizona and Southern California, including the metropolitan areas of Phoenix and Tucson, and the greater Los Angeles, San Diego and San Bernardino areas.
- Kelli Ramirez, “Throw Back Thursday: Then and Now,” Central Arizona Project: Know Your Water News, March 12, 2020.
- Bob Silbernagel, “Water war in 1934 halted dam on the Colorado River,” Associated Press, March 11, 2019.
|Location||Parker Dam, along the Arizona-California border (map)|
|Credit||Ted Wood/The Water Desk|
|Rights||Free to reuse under Creative Commons license.|
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