When construction began in 1973, the pumping plant on the south shoreline of the Bill Williams River upstream from Parker Dam was simply called Havasu Pump Plant. Today, it’s known as Mark Wilmer Pumping Plant. Here are some other facts about the first and largest of CAP’s pumping plants:
- Mark Wilmer Pumping Plant was the first plant built in the CAP system. The U.S. Bureau of Reclamation began construction in 1973 and completed this plant in 1985 at a cost of $63.8 million.
- The first engineering challenge was lifting Colorado River water 800 vertical feet into Buckskin Mountain where it is released into the seven-mile long Buckskin Mountain Tunnel.
- The Mark Wilmer Pumping Plant features six 66,000-horsepower pumps. Each pump requires 50 megawatts of power, more than is required for the entire city of Lake Havasu on the hottest day of the year.
- When all the pumps are running, they can fill an Olympic-sized swimming pool in less than three seconds
- In 1995, the plant was renamed Mark Wilmer Pumping Plant in honor of Phoenix attorney Mark Wilmer who successfully represented the State of Arizona before the U.S. Supreme Court, thus establishing Arizona’s right to its allotment of Colorado River Water.