For several weeks, a powerful flow of water has been pounding the river below the dam, rushing from one outlet tube in the dam.
It causes a very slight vibration in my nearby home, so that the door between the kitchen and garage emits a high-pitched squeak. I can’t feel it or otherwise detect the vibration, but when I hear that squeak, I know that if I walk out my front door I’ll see that gigantic, thundering water spout.
So how big is it that water spout?
Flow records indicate there’s about 3.9 kcfs shooting out of that tube. That’s 3,900 cubic feet per second, or 29,000 gallons. Every second.
Water weighs something like 8 pounds per gallon, depending on the temperature, so that comes out to 232,000 pounds per second of water, under pressure, pounding the river 150 feet (guessing) below.
That’s impressive, but when you consider the total flow of the river is right now about 160 kcfs you’re only looking at about 2 percent of the river squeezing through that tube. The rest is making power through the generators.
The funny thing is that just watching 2/100ths of the river make an impressive show of power helps me appreciate the tremendous energy of the river tapped by the dam and sent out into the nation.