Workers today completed a 3-mile long tunnel underneath Lake Mead connecting to a third intake straw to provide water to Las Vegas. The Southern Nevada Water Authority announced shortly after noon today that the tunnel-boring machine 600 feet below the lake bed had made the connection. The straw should be operational by next summer, the SNWA says.
The project took about seven years and cost about $817 million. The straws draw water from the lake and deliver it to pumping stations, which in turn send it into Las Vegas. One of those currently in use will be unusable if lake levels drop below 1,050 feet, only 34 feet below the lake's current elevation above sea level.
The city gets 90 percent of its water supply from the reservoir.