Drink by the barrel

Intake 3, Nevada’s secret weapon against drought

The Colorado River is a source of drinking water for 40 million people. Still, rising temperatures and outdated water management systems have brought it to an all-time low.

The Southern Nevada Water Authority (SNWA) has therefore installed various pumping systems to maintain adequate Lake Mead water levels, fed by Colorado and the main reserve for Las Vegas. The last intervention, Intake 3 (or Third “Straw”), built by Webuild, is decisive.

The work, one of the most complex ever to be built, consists of an access shaft, which is dug into the rock on the lake shore, at a depth of 200 metres. A 4.6 km tunnel advances from the bottom of the well. The water, sucked from the bottom of the lake, is conveyed along the tunnel to the access shaft, and from there it is pumped to the water treatment plants, on dry land.