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Elephant Butte Dam
Elephant butte dike.jpg
Country United States
Location Truth or Consequences, New Mexico
Status In use
Construction began 1911
Opening date 1916
Dam and spillways
Type of dam Gravity
Impounds Rio Grande
Height 301 ft (92 m)
Length 1,674 ft (510 m)
Width (crest) 18 ft (5 m)
Width (base) 228 ft (69 m)
Dam volume 618,785 cu yd (473,095 m3)
Reservoir
Creates Elephant Butte Lake
Total capacity 2,065,010 acre·ft (2.547152329×109 m3)
Catchment area 28,900 sq mi (75,000 km2)
Surface area 36,500 acres (14,800 ha)
Power station
Hydraulic head 140 ft (43 m) (rated)
Turbines 1 x Francis turbine
Installed capacity 27.95 MW
Annual generation 38,449,061 kWh
Elephant Butte Dam
Elephant Butte Dam under construction 1914.JPG
The spillway is in the lower left corner of the picture and the power plant is located at the base of the opposite side of the dam.
Elephant Butte Dam is located in New Mexico
Elephant Butte Dam
Location Sierra County, New Mexico
Nearest city Truth or Consequences, New Mexico
Coordinates 33.153969°N 107.192113°W / 33.153969°N 107.192113°W / 33.153969; -107.192113Coordinates: 33.153969°N 107.192113°W / 33.153969°N 107.192113°W / 33.153969; -107.192113
Built 1910
Architect Louis C. Hill
Architectural style Other
Governing body U.S. Bureau of Reclamation
NRHP Reference # 79001556[1]
Added to NRHP April 9, 1979

Elephant Butte Dam or Elephant Butte Dike is a concrete gravity dam on the Rio Grande river near Truth or Consequences, New Mexico. The dam impounds Elephant Butte Reservoir, which is used for both recreation and agriculture. After construction, the amount of water continuing to flow downstream in the Rio Bravo lessened to a stream a foot deep. Río Bravo, or Río Bravo del Norte, is the name given in Mexico to the river known in the United States as the Rio Grande.

Dam at Elephant Butte, on Rio Grande, near Truth or Consequences, NM (postcard, circa 1916)

The dam is part of the Rio Grande Project, a project to provide power and irrigation to south-central New Mexico and west Texas. The United States Congress authorized construction of the dam on February 25, 1905 and it began in 1911. It was completed in 1916 but allowed to begin filling in 1915.[2]

Elephant Butte Dam is 301 feet (91.7 m) high, 1,674 feet (510.2 m) long including the spillway and is made from 618,785 cubic yards (473,095 m³) of concrete.[2] The width at the top of the dam is 18 feet (5.5 m) and 228 feet (69.5 m) at the base.[3]

The reservoir has a capacity of 2,065,010 acre feet (2.54715×109 m3) of water[2] from a drainage of 28,900 square miles (74,850 km²).[3] It provides irrigation to 178,000 acres (720 km²) of land. The dam also contains a 27,945-kilowatt hydroelectric powerplant. The current turbine was installed in 1940 and generates 38,449,061 kWh per year (as of 2005).[2] It is at an elevation of 4390 ft (1338 m).[4]

At the time of its construction, the dam was the largest irrigation dam ever built with the exception of the Aswan Dam in Egypt.[5] It was expected that the dam would become the property of the local settlers once a water tax had reimbursed the government for the cost of construction. During construction the government used a system of 3 cables, each having a capacity of 15 tons and a span of 1,400 feet (430 m).

The name "Elephant Butte" refers to a volcanic core similar to Devils Tower in Wyoming. It is now an island in the lake. The butte was said to have the shape of an elephant.

Dam site, Elephant Butte (postcard, circa 1916-1924)

References[edit]

  1. ^ "National Register Information System". National Register of Historic Places. National Park Service. 2007-01-23. 
  2. ^ a b c d "Elephant Butte Powerplant". Rio Grande Project. Bureau of Reclamation. December 28, 2005. Archived from the original on September 26, 2006. Retrieved October 11, 2006. 
  3. ^ a b "Elephant Butte Dam". Dataweb. Bureau of Reclamation. August 22, 2006. Archived from the original on September 27, 2006. Retrieved October 11, 2006. 
  4. ^ "Elephant Butte Dike". Geographic Names Information System. United States Geological Survey. Retrieved 2006-05-12. 
  5. ^ "Great Elephant Butte Dam Approaching Completion". Popular Mechanics Magazine. January 1915. Retrieved 9 February 2009. 

External links[edit]

EBID. "Elephant Butte Irrigation District". Retrieved 1 May 2014. 


Original courtesy of Wikipedia: http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Elephant_Butte_Dam — Please support Wikipedia.
This page uses Creative Commons Licensed content from Wikipedia. A portion of the proceeds from advertising on Digplanet goes to supporting Wikipedia.

2 news items

 
Texas Tribune
Tue, 26 Aug 2014 16:03:45 -0700

Elephant Butte Dam was finished on the Rio Grande in 1916 and built so the irrigation districts could use every drop of water by the time it hit El Paso. And as such, the silvery minnow has lost almost all its historical habitat from north of Cochiti ...

Albuquerque Journal

Albuquerque Journal
Mon, 18 Aug 2014 23:00:00 -0700

But when I pulled off in Truth or Consequences, and headed through town and up to Elephant Butte Dam, I looked down into a great big empty. Fifteen years of mostly lousy snowpacks in the upstream watersheds that feed the Rio Grande, combined with ...
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