SYMPOSIA PAPER Published: 01 January 1992

Use of Geographic Information Systems for Design and Construction of New Waddell Dam


The Central Arizona Project is the largest single water-delivery project ever authorized by Congress. Construction of the project began in 1973, and it is anticipated to be completed by the mid-1990s.

The Bureau of Reclamation management wanted a system that would provide efficient data storage and transfer to assist in meeting deadlines and provide an effective database for planning, management, and operations. Delays were encountered because data required by different offices could not be transferred digitally. Often automated data had to be re-entered because of hardware and other system incompatibilities. The datum, by its nature, is cumulative. Current analog recording methods are compounding data management problems. Development of an integrated database, a geographic information system (GIS), was developed to help solve these problems.

The GIS stores, displays, retrieves, and analyzes data and many different disciplines (engineering, planning, hydrology, geology, etc.) and make use of spatial data. A flexible system has been built which provides a means of extracting only the data that are pertinent to their specific needs. Since these investigations utilize maps, aerial photography, and other types of remote sensor data, accurate measurements and data integration techniques are vital to the success of our projects.

Using the survey and photogrammetric methods, additional georeferenced data and products have been generated. Some of the more important are: drill-hole coordinates, geologic strata coordinates, profiles, canal alignment, dams and structures positioning, section lines, rights-of-way (road and transmission lines), distance and area measurements, and reservoir capacities.

The GIS was used extensively to provide georeferenced data for design and construction of the New Waddell Dam.

Author Information

Paul, DB
U.S. Bureau of Reclamation, Denver, CO
McDonald, M
U.S. Bureau of Reclamation, Phoenix, AZ
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Developed by Committee: D18
Pages: 183–192
DOI: 10.1520/STP24196S
ISBN-EB: 978-0-8031-5188-8
ISBN-13: 978-0-8031-1471-5