Construction of the 1,950-foot earthen dam (embankment), gatehouse, spillway and outlet channel commenced in 1933 and was largely completed in 1935; the spillway gates were finished between 1937-1939. The concrete gatehouse was stamped with the year “1934” and “USIS” (Indian Irrigation Service). The purpose of the dam and reservoir is to impound much needed East Walker River water for agricultural use on the Walker River Indian Reservation.
The dam project is a good example of the New Deal at work on Indian lands. Approximately $130,000 of the project was financed by the Public Works Administration (PWA). Weber Dam and Reservoir was part of a larger PWA appropriation for conservation-related projects on Reservations in Nevada, Arizona, Montana, Wyoming, and Washington. The work at Weber Dam was overseen by the Indian Irrigation Service with mostly Indian labor from the reservation. Most of the men were enrolled in the Civilian Conservation Corps – Indian Division (CCC-ID) (earlier called the Indian Emergency Conservation Work or IECW). The Mason Valley News (July 12, 1935) estimated the cost of the labor to be $155,000.
After some modification, the dam was capable of holding 13,000 acre feet of water. An unpaved road with wooden posts with steel cable guardrails top the dam. The downstream side of the spillway and much of the reservoir is supported by riprap.
Historical Research Associates, Inc.
2004 Historic Context Report - Weber Dam, Walker River Indian Reservation, Nevada. Prepared for the Bureau of Indian Affairs, Western Regional Office, Phoenix, November.
Johnson, Edward C.
1975 Walker River Paiutes, A Tribal History. Walker River Paiute Tribe, Schurz, Nevada.
Kolvet, Renee Corona
2011 The Indian New Deal: Scenes from the Carson Indian Agency. Nevada Historical Society Quarterly, Vol. 54, Number 1-4.
Project originally submitted by Renee Kolvet on February 25, 2021.
We welcome contributions of additional information on any New Deal project site.SUBMIT MORE INFORMATION OR PHOTOGRAPHS FOR THIS SITE