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a view down the tunnel of the third drinking water tunnel before it was filled with water

Intake No. 3

To address unprecedented drought conditions and provide long-term protection of Southern Nevada's primary water storage reservoir—Lake Mead— the Southern Nevada Water Authority constructed a third drinking water intake capable of drawing upon Colorado River water at lake elevations below 1,000 feet (above sea level).

Intake No. 3 ensures Southern Nevada’s access to its primary water supply if lake levels continue to decline due to drought conditions. It also protects municipal water customers from water quality issues associated with declining lake levels.

Intake No. 3 began conveying water to our water treatment facilities in September 2015.

The construction of the intake began in 2008. A 24-foot diameter tunnel boring machine was utilized to excavate a tunnel under Lake Mead before connecting with an intake structure secured to the bottom of the lake with more than 1,000 truck-loads of concrete.

The intake works in concert with the Water Authority’s low lake level pumping station to protect Southern Nevada's access to water in Lake Mead.

Third Intake Documentary

See the story of one of the world's most challenging tunneling projects, Intake No. 3.