New tunnel seen as "insurance" for Las Vegas water supply

04/1/2008 | Engineering News-Record

With Lake Mead operating at about half its capacity, the Southern Nevada Water Authority has awarded a $447 million contract for a new intake tunnel to ensure continued water supply in the Las Vegas Valley. The lake has already dropped 110 feet in the past eight years, and officials say another 70-foot drop would render at least one of the two existing tunnels inoperable. Not only will the new tunnel provide better-quality water from a deeper part of the lake, but it will also provide "insurance in case our current intakes become inoperable," according to Marc Jensen, SNWA's director of engineering.

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