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A crane lowers a wye connector into place during construction of the low lake level pumping station.

Low lake level pumping station

As Lake Mead water levels continue to fall during the worst drought in the history of the Colorado River Basin, the Southern Nevada Water Authority's low lake level pumping station will ensure Southern Nevada maintains access to its primary water supplies in Lake Mead.

Water levels at Lake Mead water levels have dropped more than 130 feet since the drought began in 2002. If the lake dips below elevation 895 feet, Hoover Dam can no longer release water downstream to California, Arizona, and Mexico.

Development of the pumping station involved constructing a 26-foot-diameter access shaft more than 500 feet deep, then excavating a 12,500-square-foot underground cavern at its bottom.

The cavern, known as a forebay, connects with 34 vertical shafts — each 500 feet deep and 6 feet in diameter — to accommodate the station’s submersible pumping units.

The $650-million project broke ground in mid-2015 and is scheduled for completion in 2020. When finished, the pumping station will have the capacity to deliver up to 900 million gallons a day to our treatment facilities.

Pump installation in progress

Watch this crane lift and move sections of a water pump into position, then lower them one by one into a shaft at the low lake level pumping station. When finished, the station will ensure access to our community's primary drinking water supply during the continued drought.

This infographic, titled Southern Nevada Water Authority Lake Mead Pumping Stations, is described below.

The infographic above depicts pumping station number one's operating range as 1,050 feet above sea level. Pumping station number two's operating range is 1,000 feet above sea level. The low lake level pumping station's operating range is 875 feet above sea level. SNWA's low lake level pumping station will ensure Southern Nevada maintains access to its primary water supplies in Lake Mead, even if the lake dips below evelation 895' - the point at which Hoover Dam can no longer release water downstream to California, Arizona and Mexico. Low-level elevations also may require additional water treatment.