Positive consequences

Cityscape of downtown Phoenix, Arizona with hills in the background

One advantage of water control projects is a fresh water supply for growing desert cities such as Phoenix and Las Vegas. Las Vegas is fed by the Robert Griffith Project, while Phoenix is fed by the Central Arizona Project.

People in the river basin area enjoy a better standard of living in a mainly hot, dry climate as they are able to use air conditioning because of the cheap hydroelectric power available.

People can also have swimming pools and landscape their gardens due to the availability of water.

Areas such as Lake Mead provide opportunities for tourism, water sports and fishing. There are six marinas found on Lake Mead.

Flood control is now possible and the lives of people downstream are improved as their land and homes are no longer under the threat of regular flooding.

Modern industry has been attracted by cheap hydroelectric power, bringing jobs to this area.

Food is always plentiful and cheap due to the availability of irrigation for farmland.

Known as the ‘Salad Bowl’ of the USA, the Imperial Valley is the largest area of irrigated land in the USA. Irrigation allows the possibility of food surpluses, double cropping, growing cash crops and increasing yields.

Negative consequences

People have been moved off their land as valley areas were flooded.

There has been a loss of burial sites and other Native American sacred areas due to flooding and building dams.

Disagreements between states, and between the USA and Mexico, can occur, with regard to allocation of water from the river.

The increasing population has also placed resources under great strain.