Lake Mead Is Now Lower Than Ever, But Vegas Has A Crazy Survival Plan

Lake Mead Is Now Lower Than Ever, But Vegas Has a Crazy Survival Plan

Yesterday, the surface of Lake Mead reached its lowest level since it was filled in 1937 — 329m above sea level. But engineers were prepared for this: A huge infrastructural project under the lake has been underway since 2008 to ensure that Vegas residents will still be able to get water, even as the drought continues.

The project, called the "Third Straw", is one of three tunnels that have been dug beneath the lake to extract water — tunnels that have been dug deeper and deeper as lake levels drop. The First Straw is good down to 320m above sea level, which the US Bureau of Reclamation originally predicted the lake might reach by January of 2016. The Second Straw goes down to 305m, and the Third Straw is currently being built to reach 262m. Now it looks like they might need that Third Straw even sooner then they planned. It's expected to be completed later this year. [Review Journal]

Picture: USGS

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