Hydropower has been used ever since the ancient Greeks, who used water wheels to grind grain. The way hydropower works has changed and evolved through the ages, and today it is done by the force of gravity making water fall on to a turbine, which then spins very fast in order to create power and electricity.
Greeks used water wheels to grind grain. This was done with a large wooden wheel that had buckets or blades along the outside and as water fell over it, the wheel would turn, grinding the grain.
Today some water wheels are still used, but very few, and usually for looks instead of power.
Between ancient Greeks and 1886 not much happened but as hydropower advanced more people/countries used it until it became one of the main alternatives for gas and petrolium.
In 1886 put together America and Canada had 40-50 hydroelectric power plants. This was the main start of the "hydropopular" trend world wide.
By 1888 about 200 plants for hydro power were produced. and more are still being made today.
Federal Water Power Act states that special permission was needed for building a hydroelectric power plant on any stream big enough for boat traffic.
Boulder (later renamed Hoover) Dam began making up to 130,000 kw of electricity.
Grand Coulee the start of the nation's largest dam created and start hydroelectric production.
Almost 1/3 of America's electricity came from Hydro power.
I'm actually not sure how long it lasted, it could still be like that today.
Federal Energy Regulation Commission (FERC(!!!)) began regulating energy production and transmission.
Hydroelectric plant capacity tripled since 1940 in America
In 2006 America ranked among the top 4 hydroelectricity generating countries in the world along with,China, Canada and, Brazil.
Today the total capacity of America's hydro power plants is 675,000, and produces over 2.3 trillion kilowatt hours per year, providing roughly a quarter of the world's electricity.
As America evolves so does our technology including hydro power and other alternatives, and as our alternatives evolve we begin to use them more and more. We believe that people will use hydro power as one of our main alternatives and sources of electricity when fossil fuels and other gases run out.