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SNWA: Third Intake In Lake Mead Nearing Completion

The third intake
Southern Nevada Water Authority

The so-called third straw at the bottom of Lake Mead is close to completion.

After $817 million, more than six years and one worker’s life, Lake Mead is getting a third straw.

At least that’s the nickname for the new pipeline being built to ensure Las Vegas suburbs and casinos can still get their water.

Southern Nevada Water Authority General Manager John Entsminger told KNPR's State of Nevada that the intake will "allow us to pull water from the very deepest part of the lake."

He said while lake levels remain low they will pull from the third intake for water quality and temperature issues. 

It also solves an overall problem.

"The third intake gives us the pipe at the very bottom," Entsminger explained.

The intake along with a new pumping station will allow Las Vegas to get water even in what is known as a 'dead pool situation,' which is when the lake levels drop below 900 feet. 

At that point, the Bureau of Reclamation won't let water out of Hoover Dam.

However, because the intake is at 860 feet and the pump can pull water from that level, the valley's water supply will stay intact.

"We're basically guaranteed to have 40 feet of water over that intake," Entsminger said. "Ninety percent of your water comes from one source you do what it necessary to guarantee that source."

John Entsminger, SNWA general manager

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Prior to taking on the role of Broadcast Operations Manager in January 2021, Rachel was the senior producer of KNPR's State of Nevada program for 6 years. She helped compile newscasts and provided coverage for and about the people of Southern Nevada, as well as major events such as the October 1 shooting on the Las Vegas strip, protests of racial injustice, elections and more. Rachel graduated with a bachelor's degree of journalism and mass communications from New Mexico State University.
Casey Morell is the coordinating producer of Nevada Public Radio's flagship broadcast State of Nevada and one of the station's midday newscast announcers. (He's also been interviewed by Jimmy Fallon, whatever that's worth.)