Lake Mead’s Deepest Water Intake Opening May No Longer be Deep Enough to Serve Las Vegas
Posted on: March 22, 2023, 08:17h.
Last updated on: March 23, 2023, 04:20h.
Even the deepest intake straw pumping water from Lake Mead to the nearby Las Vegas region, which gets 90% of its water from the nation’s largest reservoir, may no longer be deep enough. .
Last week, the Southern Nevada Water Authority (SNWA) board of directors approved spending $1.4M to study whether or not the intake’s opening needs to be lowered
The move comes less than a year after Lake Mead’s precipitously falling water levels led the SNWA to shut down and cap off its highest straw, Intake No. 1, because it no longer sits underwater and to bring the pumping station online at Intake No. 3. Completed in 2015, this is the deepest and, at $1.5B, costliest of the three intakes. It now provides almost all of Las Vegas’ water, according to the SNWA.
“We are not relocating the intake,” SNWA spokesperson Corey Enus told Casino.org. “We are evaluating if the intake opening needs to be lowered in its current location, so we can continue drawing water from well below the surface.”
It’s About Water Quality, not Quantity
Intake No. 3 currently sits more than 20 feet below Lake Mead’s dead-pool elevation of 895 feet above sea level, the depth at which Colorado River water can no longer flow through Hoover Dam downstream to Arizona, California, or Mexico, and hydroelectric power can no longer be generated.
“We are confident that we can continue accessing our water supply even if Lake Mead falls to a dead-pool elevation,” Enus clarified. “However, we need to better understand what the water quality implications may be of drawing water closer to the lake’s surface, where the water is warmer and may have more silt suspended within it.”
Lake Mead is now only 28% full, its surface only about 150 feet above dead pool. Its level has fallen around 170 feet since drought first struck the American Southwest more than 22 years ago. And, despite recent rains in the region, the rate of decline continues to accelerate.
According to the latest US Bureau of Reclamation projections, Lake Mead is expected to drop another 30 feet in the next two years.
Several options are on the table, according to the SNWA, from shortening the third-intake straw and lowering where its top sits to building settling basins such as those used along the Mississippi River to remove sediment.
We want to evaluate feasible options now, so we can make proactive, informed decisions and ensure that our community’s water supply remains high quality,” Enus said.
Jacobs Engineering Group Inc. is expected to start the feasibility study this month. It should take eight months to complete.
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Last Comments ( 12 )
...in case you didn't know it... So AZ and Mexico also own some of that water... it doesn't all belong to Sin City.
I wonder why the city built in a literal desert is having trouble with water… LOL The sheer arrogance and willful ignorance of humanity is astounding. This is the cost of convenience and the bill is way past due. Climate change is real, quantifiable and has been observed since the 60s. We really potentiated it. This is not a conspiracy or grand plan by some reptiles from space. It’s happening regardless of what anyone believes and none of our leaders in industry or government are taking enough initiatives to make any significant changes. For now, let’s try living within the means of our environment?
Stop releasing the water out of the Dam,
There has been a lot of rain this year, yet lake Mead keeps falling. There is an underground city under Denver. The Elites are preparing to go underground when the SHTF. They are getting prepared with everything they need to ride out decades in their fancy underground bunker cities. What's happening at Lake Mead is an anomaly because look at how fast all the lakes in California have filled this winter and are now full. Many are now even spilling over! Could they be draining the water elsewhere? Is it possible?
It's simple....Stop having builders build new Homes!!!! We're in a drought, and yet wasted water to level ground and streets is where our water is going to everyday. Just stop because the people of Lasvegas are the ones who is gonna pay for this by suffering, with High a$$ Rent and maybe become a State taxed state cause of all these people who can afford anything , move here to buy. STOP STOP STOP BUILDING!!
I totally understand it's the desert land and certainly people need to stay cool and hydrated. Strictly as a band aide, 'surface water' solution, what if Las Vegas did away with all fountains and mandated hotels, grand and small, do away with their swimming pools? Dumb idea? Not possible?
That’s a great idea and makes sense piping water from the north to the south. The only problem is the greedy politicians don’t see enough money to rip off the American taxpayers, so they come up with ideas of piping water all the way from the Mississippi River or other places further yet so they can get cream off the top of the project and screw the taxpayers out of trillions of dollars. A Billion Dollar Project doesn’t cut it anymore. They all they can say is social security is going to go broke. Sounds like a Government Ponzi scheme or pyramid’s It’s a sad day here in America.
Everyone listen to Ross parcel... Seems to know his stuff, real authority here lol
you are stupid sucker all the snow in Reno would be enough to fill mead and Powell what the he'll are waiting on wake up politicians you really don't have common sense
Little late for checking to lower the straw NOW , and on top of it another more than a million dollars. Someone needs to be held accountable. Enough is enough.
I was raised around lake Mead I remember the '80s the water was overfilled and people were coming in droves to come see our beautiful lake now as a ghost town nobody wants to come and help figure it out We must save our lake My family's had property underneath the lake they gave up everything to help create this beautiful lake to serve everyone please save our lake
Why haven't we run a pipeline from northern Nevada to the gorge to supply lower Nevada from mtn run off?