Lake Mead Water Uncaps 3rd Straw for Vegas

Residents of Las Vegas may encounter some changes in water taste because of the different and new routing. The $817 Million dollar tunnel has been completed and will be tapping deeper levels of the Lake Mead water supply for Las Vegas.


Drinking Water Las Vegas
The new intake was unplugged Wednesday to finish flooding an $817 million tunnel and complete a complicated “Third Straw” project to draw drinking water for Las Vegas from a shrinking Lake Mead. (AP Photo/John Locher)

The new pipeline can draw water from the deepest part of Lake Mead, the snowmelt-fed Colorado River reservoir behind Hoover Dam that provides more than 90 percent of Las Vegas’ drinking water supply.

Erika Moonin, water authority project manager, said Tuesday it should ensure an uninterrupted supply far into the future.

The new intake taps the lake at 860 feet above sea level. That’s 190 feet below the tallest existing intake and 218 feet below the lake’s surface level Wednesday.

The reservoir is down 147 feet from when it was at full capacity in 1983. It’s currently 38 percent full.