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Lake Mead water intake straw to be lowered as southern Nevada leaders eye water restrictions

Sunken boat exposed in Lake Mead bed as water levels continue to drop.
Posted at 5:36 PM, Mar 17, 2023

LAS VEGAS (KTNV) — Despite a wet winter weather season, Lake Mead is still low— so low that the intake straw pulling water from the reservoir into the homes and businesses across the Las Vegas area is now going to be lowered.

The Southern Nevada Water Authority Board has just approved the plan to lower the straw. The move could cost up to $1.4 million.

Right now, the third straw stands at 875 feet in elevation. It was built to ensure water could continue to be delivered to Las Vegas even if the reservoir fell to "dead pool" status.

This latest move will help authorities determine if the straw will need to go even lower to ensure the water supply is not jeopardized.

Bronson Mack with the Southern Nevada Water Authority previously told KTNV's Abel Garcia, "If we don't all adapt and reduce our water demands collectively, we're going to end up in a situation where demand is going to exceed supply."

In the meantime, Mack says the water authority is also working with many golf courses throughout the valley to make sure non-functional grass is removed. Henderson City Council also approved an ordinance this past week that would cut the water supply for golf courses beginning in January 2024.