Col. Julie Balten, U.S. Army Corps of Engineers Los Angeles District commander, visits the Painted Rock Dam spillway March 24 near Gila Bend, Arizona. Balten leads 746 military and civilian personnel operating in a 226,000-square-mile area of California, Arizona, Nevada and Utah.
1 / 10 Show Caption + Hide Caption – Col. Julie Balten, U.S. Army Corps of Engineers Los Angeles District commander, visits the Painted Rock Dam spillway March 24 near Gila Bend, Arizona. Balten leads 746 military and civilian personnel operating in a 226,000-square-mile area of California, Arizona, Nevada and Utah. (Photo Credit: Robert DeDeaux) VIEW ORIGINAL
William Kramer, dam operator, briefs Col. Julie Balten, U.S. Army Corps of Engineers Los Angeles District commander, at Painted Rock Dam March 24 near Gila Bend, Arizona. Painted Rock Dam is a major flood control project in the Gila River Drainage Basin, constructed and operated by the Corps’ LA District
2 / 10 Show Caption + Hide Caption – William Kramer, dam operator, briefs Col. Julie Balten, U.S. Army Corps of Engineers Los Angeles District commander, at Painted Rock Dam March 24 near Gila Bend, Arizona. Painted Rock Dam is a major flood control project in the Gila River Drainage Basin, constructed and operated by the Corps’ LA District (Photo Credit: Robert DeDeaux) VIEW ORIGINAL
The Painted Rock Dam Control House entrance is pictured March 24 near Gila Bend, Arizona. The dam is a major flood control project in the Gila River Drainage Basin, constructed and operated by the U. S. Army Corps of Engineers Los Angeles District.
3 / 10 Show Caption + Hide Caption – The Painted Rock Dam Control House entrance is pictured March 24 near Gila Bend, Arizona. The dam is a major flood control project in the Gila River Drainage Basin, constructed and operated by the U. S. Army Corps of Engineers Los Angeles District. (Photo Credit: Robert DeDeaux) VIEW ORIGINAL
Donald “Donnie” May, dam operator at Painted Rock Dam, leads Col. Julie Balten, commander of  the U.S. Army Corps of Engineers Los Angeles District, on a tour of the Painted Rock Dam, located on the Gila River in Maricopa County March 24 near Gila Bend, Arizona. May has been a dam operator for more than 41 years.
4 / 10 Show Caption + Hide Caption – Donald “Donnie” May, dam operator at Painted Rock Dam, leads Col. Julie Balten, commander of the U.S. Army Corps of Engineers Los Angeles District, on a tour of the Painted Rock Dam, located on the Gila River in Maricopa County March 24 near Gila Bend, Arizona. May has been a dam operator for more than 41 years. (Photo Credit: Robert DeDeaux) VIEW ORIGINAL
Donald “Donnie” May, dam operator, briefs Col. Julie Balten, U.S. Army Corps of Engineers Los Angeles District commander, during a tour of the Painted Rock Dam spillway March 24 near Gila Bend, Arizona. The spillway was built to keep flood waters from damaging the dam’s structure
5 / 10 Show Caption + Hide Caption – Donald “Donnie” May, dam operator, briefs Col. Julie Balten, U.S. Army Corps of Engineers Los Angeles District commander, during a tour of the Painted Rock Dam spillway March 24 near Gila Bend, Arizona. The spillway was built to keep flood waters from damaging the dam’s structure (Photo Credit: Robert DeDeaux) VIEW ORIGINAL
The south view of the Painted Rock Dam can be seen in this March 24 picture near Gila Bend, Arizona. Painted Rock Dam is a major flood control project in the Gila River Drainage Basin, constructed and operated by the U. S. Army Corps of Engineers Los Angeles District.
6 / 10 Show Caption + Hide Caption – The south view of the Painted Rock Dam can be seen in this March 24 picture near Gila Bend, Arizona. Painted Rock Dam is a major flood control project in the Gila River Drainage Basin, constructed and operated by the U. S. Army Corps of Engineers Los Angeles District. (Photo Credit: Robert DeDeaux) VIEW ORIGINAL
Donald “Donnie” May, dam operator at Painted Rock Dam, explains the importance of the dam’s location March 24 near Gila Bend, Arizona. The Painted Rock Dam is a major flood control project in the Gila River Drainage Basin, constructed and operated by the U.S. Army Corps of Engineers Los Angeles District.
7 / 10 Show Caption + Hide Caption – Donald “Donnie” May, dam operator at Painted Rock Dam, explains the importance of the dam’s location March 24 near Gila Bend, Arizona. The Painted Rock Dam is a major flood control project in the Gila River Drainage Basin, constructed and operated by the U.S. Army Corps of Engineers Los Angeles District. (Photo Credit: Robert DeDeaux) VIEW ORIGINAL
Col. Julie Balten, commander of the U.S. Army Corps of Engineers Los Angeles District, right, and David Van Dorpe, deputy district engineer for the LA District, left, visit Painted Rock Dam March 24 near Gila Bend, Arizona. The inflow gates, pictured behind Balten and Van Dorpe, regulate the amount of river water released downstream.
8 / 10 Show Caption + Hide Caption – Col. Julie Balten, commander of the U.S. Army Corps of Engineers Los Angeles District, right, and David Van Dorpe, deputy district engineer for the LA District, left, visit Painted Rock Dam March 24 near Gila Bend, Arizona. The inflow gates, pictured behind Balten and Van Dorpe, regulate the amount of river water released downstream. (Photo Credit: Robert DeDeaux) VIEW ORIGINAL
The north view of the Painted Rock Dam can be seen in this March 24 picture near Gila Bend, Arizona. Painted Rock Dam is a major flood control project in the Gila River Drainage Basin, constructed and operated by the U. S. Army Corps of Engineers Los Angeles District.
9 / 10 Show Caption + Hide Caption – The north view of the Painted Rock Dam can be seen in this March 24 picture near Gila Bend, Arizona. Painted Rock Dam is a major flood control project in the Gila River Drainage Basin, constructed and operated by the U. S. Army Corps of Engineers Los Angeles District. (Photo Credit: Robert DeDeaux) VIEW ORIGINAL
The Painted Rock Dam entrance can be seen in this March 24 picture near Gila Bend, Arizona. The U. S. Army Corps of Engineers Los Angeles District completed construction of the dam in 1960.
10 / 10 Show Caption + Hide Caption – The Painted Rock Dam entrance can be seen in this March 24 picture near Gila Bend, Arizona. The U. S. Army Corps of Engineers Los Angeles District completed construction of the dam in 1960. (Photo Credit: Robert DeDeaux) VIEW ORIGINAL

GILA BEND, Ariz. – Col. Julie Balten, commander of the U.S. Army Corps of Engineers Los Angeles District, and David Van Dorpe, deputy district engineer for the LA District, toured the Painted Rock Dam, a flood risk-reduction project, located on the Gila River in Maricopa County March 24 near Gila Bend.

“The purpose of today’s visit is to see Painted Rock Dam and the flood control project area,” Balten said. “It’s a large flood control project that was designed to protect Southern Arizona, and, particularly, the City of Yuma.”

Painted Rock Dam is within the Gila River Drainage Basin and is operated by the Corps’ LA District. The dam consists of a debris pool, spillway, a gauging station and dikes, and is monitored by two dam operators.

“The team here is crucial to the flood control mission,” Balten said. “They live in this remote area to maintain and operate the facility 24/7.”

The Painted Rock Dam is operated on a prediction basis, which establishes the rate of release for flood waters from the dam, based on upstream and downstream conditions.

“Painted Rock Dam was built to protect downstream agriculture, Yuma and other towns along the way,” said William Kramer, one of two of the dam’s operators.

The dam has a drainage area of 50,800 square miles. Most of year, it’s reservoir remains dry. Daily operations consist of maintenance, weather monitoring and assisting the U.S. Fish and Wildlife Service.

“Painted Rock is strictly for flood control,” said Donald “Donnie” May, a second operator at the dam. “We must coordinate with other dam and facility operators to regulate water flow. This dam is the last stop for most of Arizona’s water, before going into the Colorado River and into Mexico.”

Construction of the dam began in July 1957 and was completed in January 1960, at a cost of about $13.7 million.

“After the tour, I think the colonel was pretty impressed with our operation,” May said.