Third Intake Below Lake Mead Fills With 11 Million Gallons of Water

September 14, 2015

The first 11 million gallons of the 41 million gallons of water were sent into the new 3-mile deepwater intake beneath the Lake Mead reservoir, reports the Las Vegas Review Journal.

The flooding process is expected to take several weeks before a cap is removed and the Colorado River reservoir will directly flow to pumping stations.

The new deep-water intake is linked to the valley's existing straws by a connector tunnel completed in 2013.

According to the Review Journal, crews completed the first part of the process, which involved lowering a water-tight lid over the mouth of one of the existing intakes to supply water to the surrounding area.

Approximately 11 million gallons left in the sealed connector tunnel is now being drained through valves in the temporary bulkhead and down into the new intake.

A temporary bulkhead currently keeps water in the connector tunnel from seeping into the intake. To remove the bulkhead, workers must seal the tunnel off from the lake and drain it so they can work inside.

Once the bulkhead is removed, another 52 million gallons will be let in at a controlled rate.

The third intake took seven years and $817 million to construct.

The Southern Nevada Water Authority posted a video tour (below) and outlined the main components of the project:

  • A new intake opening at elevation 860 feet
  • A 3-mile long tunnel that will draw and convey water from a deeper location in Lake Mead
  • A connecting tunnel from the new intake to an existing intake pumping station
  • Significant modifications to the existing second intake to accommodate interconnection with the new third intake.