For its construction, 3,400,000 m³ of concrete were used, which allowed to build a 221 m high structure and a 201 m long base at the base. At the time of its completion it was the largest hydroelectric power plant and also the largest concrete structure in the United States. It was surpassed in both fields by the Grand Coulee dam, dam started in 1933 and inaugurated in 1942. The dam, built during the Great Depression in order to provide low-cost electricity for the US industry, was inaugurated on September 30, 1935 by the president Franklin D. Roosevelt.
This dam, located about 48 km south-east of Las Vegas (Nevada), was named after Herbert Hoover, who played a key role in its construction, first as a trade secretary and later as president of the United States of America. The construction of this structure, approved in 1928 by the Congress, began in 1931 and ended in 1935, more than two years in advance of the program. The artificial basin created by the dam takes the name of Lake Mead and is the largest artificial lake in the United States.
With the expansion of the territory of the United States to the west it became clear that the Colorado River could be an excellent source of water for irrigation. Therefore, at the end of the nineteenth century, around 1890, a first attempt by William Beatty was undertaken in the realization of what would later become known as the Alamo canal, an artificial channel that was responsible for supplying water to a almost uninhabited area known as the Imperial Valley.
Despite the water supplied by this channel allowed the colonization of the valley, it soon became clear that the maintenance of this work, due to the frequent flooding of the Colorado River, was too expensive. In 1906, following one of these floods, which caused a breach in the bank of the canal, the waters of Colorado poured into Lake Salton forcing the Southern Pacific Railroad, whose rails passed close to the canal, to spend 3 million dollars to reinforce the embankments and secure the railway line. Nevertheless, even after having reinforced the banks, due to the continuous disputes over the water supply due to the fact that the canal also supplied the population located in the Mexican territory, the maintenance of this work proved to be not very profitable, making in fact lose to potentials investors are interested in investing in these areas.