How far would Lake Mead's water drop before the current intake system stops providing water to Las Vegas?

How far would Lake Mead’s water drop before the current intake system stops providing water to Las Vegas?

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LAS VEGAS (KLAS) — As Lake Mead’s water level continues to drop, the Las Vegas Valley Water District is making an effort to educate people in the valley about how water gets from the lake to homes and businesses.

A recent Tweet from the LVVWD showed an animated video describing the three straw water intake system works at the lake.

As 8 News Now first reported in April, the pipe connecting the first or shallowest intake tunnel has begun emerging from the surface. According to the LVVWD, the first straw, or intake one, will no longer work when the lake level falls below 1,050 feet (Lake Mead’s water level is measured at an altitude above sea level).

As of Tuesday, May 10, the level at Lake Mead is 1,052.55 feet, or two and a half feet above the first intake tunnel cutoff point.

At this point, it is a certainty that the lake will fall below the intake of the first tunnel. Just one week ago, the U.S. Bureau of Reclamation announced it would be holding back about 480,000 acre-feet of water in Lake Powell to maintain Glen Canyon Dam’s ability to produce hydropower for millions of homes and businesses in the region.

Officials estimate the move will mean an extra 7-foot to 8-foot drop for Lake Mead due to current water loss. Thankfully, even this dramatic drop will not affect the water supply for Las Vegas.

The second intake tunnel was completed in 2000. If the lake drops another 57.6 feet from today’s level, the tunnel will suck in water from the lake until the level drops below 1,000 feet. If the lake level continues to fall, the third and deepest intake tunnel comes into play.

Lake Mead would have to drop below 895 feet before the third tunnel would not be able to intake water. That’s an additional 157 feet drop from the lake’s current level.


LAKE MEAD AT HOOVER DAM, END OF MONTH ELEVATION (FEET)

Year JAN FEB MAR APR MAY JUN JUL AUG SEP OCT NOV DEC
1935 708.70 701.70 752.40 806.60 909.10 928.40 925.90 920.80 914.90 908.30 908.40
1936 907.90 908.40 906.90 922.20 982.40 1015.50 1020.40 1024.40 1024.60 1022.60 1023.60 1023.50
1937 1022.20 1026.20 1031.00 1044.60 1078.70 1096.60 1102.80 1099.60 1097.60 1096.70 1096.00 1095.75
1938 1095.00 1094.85 1100.20 1109.20 1134.40 1165.60 1173.50 1171.95 1173.80 1171.45 1168.70 1168.65
1939 1165.40 1157.40 1158.20 1162.90 1176.20 1183.45 1181.30 1177.35 1178.95 1176.10 1173.05 1169.95
1940 1166.90 1166.00 1164.65 1164.85 1175.35 1182.15 1179.80 1176.10 1174.45 1173.75 1170.80 1168.05
1941 1167.10 1167.55 1170.35 1175.85 1201.25 1215.55 1220.40 1216.50 1209.85 1211.25 1205.60 1195.80
1942 1184.80 1176.75 1171.25 1182.90 1195.50 1213.15 1213.20 1210.40 1205.00 1199.25 1194.05 1188.40
1943 1182.45 1179.60 1177.00 1180.60 1188.75 1199.40 1201.55 1199.65 1195.70 1189.90 1184.50 1178.35
1944 1170.90 1164.20 1158.40 1158.10 1173.20 1194.85 1199.55 1193.90 1187.10 1180.60 1174.55 1168.00
1945 1161.25 1155.75 1149.60 1147.40 1161.30 1174.55 1180.70 1177.95 1177.95 1173.60 1168.95 1163.35
1946 1157.55 1151.65 1147.45 1148.20 1155.15 1163.95 1163.30 1161.25 1157.65 1153.90 1151.65 1148.55
1947 1142.60 1133.10 1135.38 1134.49 1151.93 1169.64 1177.18 1180.13 1178.02 1177.88 1175.24 1170.58
1948 1164.52 1158.80 1154.51 1158.77 1175.95 1192.15 1190.32 1186.95 1180.82 1175.89 1170.91 1164.85
1949 1158.04 1150.99 1147.17 1148.28 1164.51 1189.07 1196.61 1193.17 1186.86 1181.19 1176.93 1170.06
1950 1163.40 1156.70 1151.75 1152.13 1158.57 1173.95 1177.15 1173.36 1168.77 1164.43 1160.19 1156.62
1951 1151.47 1168.02 1144.07 1141.34 1146.16 1163.53 1168.19 1167.00 1163.75 1160.42 1157.25 1153.12
1952 1149.06 1143.00 1133.99 1141.96 1171.53 1198.06 1199.88 1195.74 1190.00 1183.13 1176.39 1169.10
1953 1162.56 1157.12 1152.42 1148.40 1147.33 1165.11 1165.87 1163.38 1157.67 1152.99 1150.06 1145.78
1954 1141.44 1138.22 1134.08 1130.26 1130.76 1129.88 1126.25 1120.82 1115.39 1112.90 1109.74 1105.40
1955 1100.77 1096.14 1092.85 1089.72 1095.90 1105.91 1103.65 1102.78 1098.50 1095.11 1092.63 1090.99
1956 1089.20 1087.06 1083.57 1083.81 1098.00 1116.62 1114.58 1110.66 1105.76 1102.05 1099.14 1097.02
1957 1095.05 1094.32 1092.24 1091.00 1109.31 1150.81 1176.08 1182.34 1182.52 1182.50 1181.61 1177.39
1958 1170.95 1168.56 1163.64 1164.61 1185.52 1205.43 1203.39 1198.97 1195.57 1192.45 1189.59 1185.85
1959 1182.31 1182.03 1176.60 1172.83 1172.59 1179.84 1179.27 1175.65 1171.13 1169.35 1168.85 1167.28
1960 1165.09 1163.78 1164.26 1169.94 1175.09 1183.71 1181.32 1175.25 1170.36 1168.47 1167.46 1165.12
1961 1162.67 1160.75 1156.19 1153.56 1154.45 1161.19 1157.62 1154.05 1153.74 1155.15 1155.22 1154.64
1962 1153.56 1156.51 1154.69 1165.75 1185.56 1198.17 1203.98 1200.87 1197.64 1196.65 1195.05 1193.12
1963 1190.98 1189.67 1185.07 1179.06 1172.43 1167.16 1160.27 1153.88 1149.04 1144.99 1141.50 1136.93
1964 1131.74 1128.40 1123.85 1123.41 1119.32 1112.47 1103.84 1098.58 1093.49 1090.12 1089.02 1088.14
1965 1089.83 1090.63 1088.31 1094.57 1110.08 1125.69 1124.33 1124.32 1124.79 1125.90 1127.93 1129.74
1966 1132.24 1133.05 1132.24 1132.15 1133.07 1132.70 1130.32 1128.21 1127.59 1128.42 1129.72 1132.05
1967 1133.42 1133.31 1131.65 1131.72 1131.49 1130.40 1128.81 1128.44 1130.20 1128.67 1127.71 1129.84
1968 1132.07 1132.54 1132.79 1134.15 1135.18 1136.23 1136.76 1136.89 1136.44 1137.46 1139.05 1139.65
1969 1140.46 1140.67 1139.34 1140.79 1141.26 1141.79 1143.32 1145.31 1146.86 1147.22 1149.71 1152.50
1970 1153.65 1153.32 1151.06 1150.80 1150.87 1150.73 1150.53 1151.33 1152.58 1151.77 1151.75 1152.95
1971 1152.87 1150.40 1148.29 1148.63 1149.06 1149.85 1151.22 1152.85 1153.61 1154.40 1156.84 1160.13
1972 1162.27 1160.94 1156.12 1154.74 1154.35 1154.60 1154.84 1156.28 1158.49 1161.59 1163.82 1168.35
1973 1172.75 1174.73 1178.78 1186.14 1185.93 1186.34 1184.89 1182.28 1180.26 1179.47 1178.70 1176.92
1974 1180.14 1178.08 1174.95 1171.35 1169.68 1169.60 1171.87 1173.30 1173.99 1173.83 1175.67 1176.80
1975 1178.74 1178.38 1177.13 1174.18 1173.66 1174.48 1176.97 1178.16 1180.10 1180.41 1179.64 1179.63
1976 1180.93 1182.90 1181.25 1179.68 1180.39 1180.47 1179.85 1177.84 1179.40 1182.16 1185.94 1187.87
1977 1193.01 1191.98 1189.01 1183.10 1179.83 1176.16 1175.34 1177.27 1180.48 1180.36 1179.29 1180.82
1978 1186.09 1187.62 1188.44 1186.14 1184.58 1184.76 1183.31 1183.74 1185.43 1186.69 1188.73 1193.31
1979 1198.83 1202.61 1201.04 1200.01 1197.55 1195.50 1194.86 1195.71 1195.30 1195.12 1196.64 1197.97
1980 1198.99 1204.13 1202.87 1201.94 1199.93 1202.27 1204.65 1204.58 1204.92 1203.21 1203.68 1202.88
1981 1203.58 1204.31 1202.15 1198.44 1196.22 1193.70 1192.88 1192.78 1192.67 1194.11 1195.42 1198.28
1982 1201.15 1202.39 1201.02 1198.30 1196.93 1196.42 1196.48 1197.39 1198.96 1201.06 1204.76 1208.37
1983 1206.83 1210.25 1211.59 1211.26 1212.33 1220.27 1225.44 1222.17 1218.21 1215.32 1213.38 1212.33
1984 1209.82 1207.67 1206.05 1205.91 1209.74 1212.17 1212.92 1211.40 1210.06 1208.63 1208.29 1207.90
1985 1206.95 1206.68 1206.43 1206.16 1209.83 1214.25 1213.95 1212.79 1213.14 1211.16 1208.76 1205.49
1986 1201.59 1202.72 1202.45 1204.78 1208.16 1210.13 1207.14 1207.52 1208.83 1208.70 1209.77 1210.39
1987 1210.23 1210.58 1208.57 1207.67 1205.99 1206.60 1207.80 1209.56 1209.79 1208.69 1210.05 1211.03
1988 1211.17 1211.70 1210.74 1208.36 1206.23 1203.18 1201.43 1199.57 1199.16 1199.15 1199.46 1199.75
1989 1201.40 1202.49 1200.28 1197.35 1192.59 1190.40 1189.72 1189.40 1190.22 1189.55 1189.02 1189.80
1990 1191.00 1191.75 1189.56 1186.89 1183.93 1182.06 1179.49 1178.82 1180.02 1178.90 1178.54 1177.89
1991 1179.39 1180.06 1179.31 1177.80 1175.92 1174.67 1173.29 1172.92 1173.01 1171.73 1171.82 1173.44
1992 1177.25 1179.42 1180.31 1179.78 1177.31 1175.07 1173.92 1173.59 1174.44 1174.68 1175.45 1176.86
1993 1183.64 1189.88 1193.46 1193.04 1190.27 1188.27 1187.20 1188.41 1189.15 1188.05 1188.45 1188.75
1994 1190.09 1190.97 1188.51 1184.94 1181.64 1179.42 1178.97 1178.24 1178.40 1177.80 1175.67 1176.55
1995 1180.37 1182.58 1182.27 1179.68 1178.33 1179.03 1180.75 1181.70 1184.28 1186.12 1189.65 1190.92
1996 1193.45 1193.81 1193.81 1192.75 1191.26 1190.43 1190.26 1190.02 1190.84 1191.56 1192.71 1194.38
1997 1195.63 1196.51 1199.10 1200.01 1199.96 1202.32 1203.49 1204.52 1205.81 1209.64 1212.80 1214.64
1998 1214.40 1214.05 1214.26 1212.74 1211.59 1211.83 1212.43 1214.30 1214.78 1215.76 1214.79 1212.53
1999 1212.89 1213.30 1211.75 1208.80 1207.37 1206.40 1207.28 1208.74 1211.29 1212.11 1212.58 1213.94
2000 1214.26 1213.79 1211.33 1208.78 1207.67 1204.09 1199.97 1196.66 1196.72 1196.66 1196.45 1196.12
2001 1197.27 1196.62 1194.68 1190.76 1187.32 1183.12 1180.78 1179.97 1177.96 1178.03 1177.22 1177.37
2002 1177.94 1176.50 1172.06 1167.49 1162.39 1160.19 1157.57 1156.42 1155.42 1154.89 1153.30 1152.13
2003 1153.33 1154.42 1153.09 1148.27 1144.68 1143.19 1141.93 1143.27 1142.12 1141.17 1139.48 1139.12
2004 1140.39 1140.11 1138.70 1134.98 1129.70 1126.93 1125.73 1126.67 1125.86 1127.43 1130.13 1130.01
2005 1137.40 1143.25 1147.66 1144.45 1141.89 1140.46 1139.01 1139.61 1138.36 1137.01 1135.27 1137.52
2006 1139.46 1141.20 1139.48 1135.94 1131.14 1128.26 1126.42 1126.54 1125.36 1126.13 1126.63 1128.12
2007 1129.55 1129.35 1125.79 1120.69 1115.89 1113.50 1111.58 1111.84 1111.06 1110.95 1111.22 1114.81
2008 1116.46 1116.93 1115.65 1110.61 1107.05 1104.98 1104.42 1105.13 1105.76 1107.94 1107.33 1110.97
2009 1111.78 1111.43 1107.40 1101.26 1096.92 1095.26 1094.20 1093.73 1093.68 1093.26 1093.52 1096.30
2010 1100.02 1103.21 1100.66 1098.00 1094.30 1089.30 1086.97 1086.91 1083.81 1082.36 1081.94 1086.30
2011 1091.73 1095.78 1096.39 1095.76 1097.90 1102.38 1107.07 1113.45 1116.04 1121.00 1125.82 1132.83
2012 1134.18 1133.06 1129.41 1123.93 1119.38 1115.84 1115.92 1116.56 1115.16 1116.50 1117.24 1120.36
2013 1122.32 1122.14 1118.59 1112.91 1108.36 1105.98 1105.92 1106.13 1106.92 1104.04 1106.36 1106.73
2014 1108.75 1107.94 1101.71 1094.55 1087.46 1082.66 1080.60 1081.55 1081.33 1082.79 1083.57 1087.79
2015 1088.51 1088.98 1084.87 1079.03 1076.57 1075.08 1078.15 1078.31 1078.10 1078.99 1078.23 1080.91
2016 1083.68 1084.17 1080.45 1076.13 1073.80 1071.64 1072.75 1075.17 1075.23 1076.34 1076.55 1080.82
2017 1086.08 1089.78 1088.26 1084.89 1081.56 1079.52 1079.03 1081.44 1082.05 1082.30 1080.95 1082.52
2018 1087.50 1088.21 1088.11 1084.49 1080.00 1076.81 1077.43 1078.88 1078.29 1078.52 1078.32 1081.46
2019 1085.75 1087.97 1090.24 1088.95 1086.48 1084.71 1082.82 1083.45 1083.00 1082.61 1083.85 1090.49
2020 1094.68 1096.27 1098.59 1096.39 1091.32 1087.07 1084.63 1084.04 1083.21 1081.88 1081.07 1083.72
2021 1085.95 1087.26 1084.39 1079.30 1073.50 1068.77 1067.65 1067.96 1067.68 1066.77 1064.97 1066.39
2022 1067.09 1066.78 1061.49 1054.69
All data is supplied from Bureau of Reclamation Records.

The third intake straw is the newest intake tunnel constructed, and it was completed in 2015 with a final price tag of $817 million.



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