The Colorado River: we irrigate food and fiber with it, fight over it, swim in it, fish from it, heat and cool our homes and businesses from its mighty power, boat on it, drink from it, and enjoy its grandeur. It is also the natural boundary to three states.
From its headwaters at a tiny lake on the northern edge of Rocky Mountain National Park to the Gulf of California, mankind has managed to harness the 1,450-mile-long ribbon of water to meet a host of needs.
Parker Dam is one of 15 on the main river and is the deepest dam on earth. Construction on the dam was completed in 1938, three years after Hoover Dam – 155 miles upstream – was dedicated by President Franklin D. Roosevelt. Though they vary vastly in size, the two share similar architecture.
Behind Parker Dam sits Lake Havasu, a popular body of water that serves a recreational mecca for millions of visitors annually.
Whether we’re using it to grow food and fiber, generating megawatts of power from it, swimming in and boating on it, photographing it, or conveying it to our homes in cities like Los Angeles and San Diego, the Colorado River serves the West in many useful ways.