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Southern Nevada Water Authority

Low lake level pumping station

low level pumping station

The low lake pumping station
will protect access to our primary
water supply.

Facing the worst drought on record in the Colorado River Basin, and as lake levels continue to fall, the Southern Nevada Water Authority (SNWA) is building a low lake level pumping station to ensure Southern Nevada maintains access to its primary water supplies in Lake Mead.

Lake Mead water levels have dropped more than 130 feet since the drought began in 2000. The pumping station will allow the SNWA to pump water from Lake Mead from an elevation as low as 875 feet above sea level.

Development of the pumping station consists of constructing a 26-foot-diameter access shaft more than 500 feet deep. At the bottom of the access shaft, a 12,500-square-foot underground cavern will be excavated. The cavern, known as a forebay, will connect with 34 vertical shafts — each 500 feet deep and 6 feet in diameter — to accommodate the station’s 34 submersible pumping units. From the forebay, water will be pumped to SNWA’s water treatment facilities.

The high-volume, low lake level pumping station, combined with the recently completed Lake Mead Intake No. 3, will provide the community continued access to its primary water supply even as lake levels fluctuate as a result of the ongoing drought. The $650-million project broke ground in mid 2015 and is scheduled for completion in 2020.

Citizens Committee Recommended Pumping Station

The Integrated Resource Planning Advisory Committee which met from 2012 through 2014 recommended the SNWA construct the low level pumping station. The committee noted that the risk of Lake Meadís water level falling below 1,000 feet was not acceptable to the community due to the potential impacts on water delivery and resource availability.

To protect the community from losing access to nearly all of its water supply, the committee recommended construction of the new low lake level pumping station. The committee also recommended generating the revenue needed to design and build the pumping station through fixed charges based on water meter size, phased in over a three-year period.


Video: From Lake to Tap


Learn more about where your water comes from and how it gets to your home. Play

Photos: Intake No. 3


View photos from the construction of Intake No. 3.

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