The Third Straw: Inside the 3-mile-long tunnel below Lake Mead that will provide water to the over two million residents of the Las Vegas Valley when Lake Mead has almost dried out

The "third straw" intake tunnel. The three mile, 24' diameter tunnel will provide water to the over two million residents of the Las Vegas Valley. Photo: Courtesy of SNWA
The “third straw” intake tunnel. The three mile, 24′ diameter tunnel will provide water to the over two million residents of the Las Vegas Valley. Photo: Courtesy of SNWA

Lake Mead is where the impossible becomes possible – from the creation of Hoover Dam to the construction of the breathtaking bridge high above it – these projects are engineering and technological feats that took lots of ingenuity, manpower, and money to accomplish.

But the marvel doesn’t stop there; six hundred feet beneath the lake, a rock-eating machine of epic proportions has chewed its way through some challenging rock to create a three mile-long-tunnel to secure Las Vegas’ access to its primary water supply in Lake Mead.

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Deemed as the “third straw,” this project is just that – an overgrown straw to draw water from deep within Lake Mead for treatment and transmission to thirsty residents and businesses across the greater Las Vegas area.

The first intake pipe in Lake Mead was constructed in 1971. In 2000, a second pipe was constructed at even deeper depths. This may have been the end of the story if it wasn’t for an on-going, historic drought that has reduced the flows of the Colorado River and decreased the amount of water in Lake Mead to a point where lake levels could drip below Las Vegas’ two original intake openings.

With Las Vegas relying on Lake Mead for 90% of its water needs, it wasn’t a gamble the Southern Nevada Water Authority (SNWA) was willing to take. A plan was crafted unlike any other ever conducted worldwide1 – the creation of a “third straw”.

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The entire design and concept of the intake pipe was unique; instead of the pipe coming from above the surface and down into the water, SNWA constructed a subsurface tunnel to come from underneath the lake and pipe the water from the lake’s bottom, similar to a drain on a bathtub.

This isn’t exactly a bathtub

However, this isn’t exactly a bathtub – it’s a 250-square mile reservoir full of challenges.

First, to get to the deeper part of the lake, the tunnel length needed to be a three miles long and the path isn’t straight on; instead, it curves to follow favorable underground conditions like stable bedrock.


To do this, an intake structure was secured to the bottom of Lake Mead using 12,000 cubic yards of concrete – that’s enough concrete to pour the foundation of nearly 500 typical Las Vegas homes.

Concurrently, crews worked underground to advance the 3-mile tunnel, which connected to the intake with engineering precision. This feat could not have been accomplished using common global positioning systems (GPS), which cannot communicate with satellites 600 feet underground. Instead, traditional survey and engineering methods were employed to ensure proper tunnel alignment.

The hard job of drilling through bedrock wasn’t the only challenge on this project. The intake structure with the vertical intake pipe was positioned on the bottom of the lake where the horizontal tunnel connected with engineering precision. Photo: Courtesy of SNWA
The hard job of drilling through bedrock wasn’t the only challenge on this project. The intake structure with the vertical intake pipe was positioned on the bottom of the lake where the horizontal tunnel connected with engineering precision. Photo: Courtesy of SNWA

The hard job of drilling through bedrock wasn’t the only challenge on this project. The intake structure with the vertical intake pipe was positioned on the bottom of the lake where the horizontal tunnel connected with engineering precision.

Another challenge is that the tunnel is going through rock – and a lot of it. First, workers needed to drill, blast and listen for seismic reflections to create a geology map so they weren’t drilling blind.

The path for the tunnel begins in Precambrian metamorphic rock and then journeys through the Muddy Creek Formation of required drilling through hard metamorphic rock as well as softer sedimentary rock, that’s over half a mile thick in some areas.

Other sediments have been deposited over the ages creating a challenging mix of gravel, boulders and bedrock for the tunnel to go through.

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Close by, the Las Vegas Wash is draining into Lake Mead, adding a sandy mix of cobbles and rock on top.

Lying to the north, a Red Sandstone formation is layered with basalt, up to a hundred feet thick;, further challenging the project. The variety of rock densities and ages was not the only geologic challenge.

The numerous faults in the area provided pathways for water to travel into the tunnel.

A project this big needs the right equipment; a drilling rig of epic proportions was brought in to do the job. At over 1,500 tons and about the length of two football fields, this was one mammoth piece of equipment. This rig moved inch by inch, drilling a 24-foot diameter tunnel day after day below Lake Mead, for a staggering three years.

Saddle Island in Boulder Basin is home to all three of the intake pipes used to provide the Las Vegas Valley with Water (IPS = intake pipe system, RMWTF = River Mountain Water Treatment Facility, AMSWTF = Alfred Merritt Smith Water Treatment Facility) Diagram: Courtesy of SNWA
Saddle Island in Boulder Basin is home to all three of the intake pipes used to provide the Las Vegas Valley with Water (IPS = intake pipe system, RMWTF = River Mountain Water Treatment Facility, AMSWTF = Alfred Merritt Smith Water Treatment Facility). Diagram: Courtesy of SNWA

Completed in the summer of 2015, the new intake pipe is now in place – and with a final price tag of $817 million dollars.

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This expensive and challenging project pushes the engineering envelope to provide the two million residents of Las Vegas – and 40 million annual visitors – the security of water, today and for years to come, all through a tunnel in the bedrock.

Lake Mead water level
Lake Mead water level. Info

As of today, the water elevation at the Hoover Dam was a bit below 1040.86 feet above sea level. It was about 1066 beginning of March 2022. So within 5 months the water level has dropped by 25-26 feet! That’s a hell of a lot!

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If you come back to the Saddle Island Intake system graph (two above), this means that:

  • Water doesn’t flow anymore through Intake 1 (elevation= 1050 feet).
  • Water will continue to flow through intake 2 (until elevation = 1000 feet) for a few more months and reach about 1000 feet by June-July 2023 (the water level should now stabilize a bit due to the current monsoon and the related floodings before dropping again at extreme rates). Then below 1000 feet no water will flow through Intake 2.
  • At this stage, residents of Las Vegas will only rely on Intake 3 (until elevation = 860 feet) for their drinking water…

In other words, if, somehow, there is a problem with this tunnel, many people won’t get any water to drink… And maybe, many will die… [NPS] has been banned from ad networks and is now entirely reader-supported CLICK HERE TO SUPPORT MY WORK… I will send you a small gemstone if you give more than 25$… Thanks in advance!

Here some things to add to your disaster & preparedness kit:

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  1. And perhaps they are draining the reservoirs because they anticipate some big earthquakes when the New Madrid lets go. They worry about the dams breaking and the resulting floods being a bigger problem than current water shortages. Remember, they had some real panic a few years ago with Orville Damn in Northern California. Had it given way it would have flooded the valley all the way to Sacramento. A lot of micro quakes made repairing the spillway almost impossible as things would shift before the concrete could harden. It appears they are concerned about the New Madrid happening at any moment. It may trigger the West Coast faults.

  2. You wrote: “(the water level should now stabilize a bit due to the current monsoon and the related floodings before dropping again at extreme rates). ”

    What scientific data supports your assertion that water levels will be “dropping again at extreme rates” after the end of the current monsoons? Perhaps non-scientific data, such as the excessive releases from the Colorado River dams with the predetermined intent to create a “drought” narrative?

    Speaking as a resident of the watershed area of the Colorado River, we have had excessive rains the past two years, creating flooding and turning meadows into shallow ponds, for the past two years. Where the water goes after it reaches the Colorado River and the dam-created reservoir “lakes” is a different question. Recall that the (utterly corrupt) federal government is in control of water releases from the dams, and the resulting lake water levels.

    The “drought” narrative is a lie; the scarcity of water is a government-created problem. NEVER forget the mantra by which the communist-Americans live: problem-reaction-solution. Government creates a problem, in this case, drought. People react; the totalitarian globalists’ “solutions” ALWAYS involve restriction or utter deprivation of individual liberty and human rights. Always. NEVER forget this as you peruse the current fear-porn narratives.

  3. next war is states with states for water and food and shelter… Will War world 3 starts tonight when Nancy Pelosi visit the Taiwan? Iran we told you is atomic nation now and the balck hole is closing faster than 6 months permision given to Iran to obey and come sign the contract but Iran is always playing like the Ayatoolahs are IBS? No deal with terrorist Iran regime … Our massage to Khamanie is same way number 2 man of Bin Laden killed you will be killed as well… Stop Atom Bomb Now!

  4. How about taking the so called ‘rising sea levels’ and use it to offset the lower levels of fresh water!
    Desalination is a process that takes away mineral components from saline water.
    Saltwater is desalinated to produce water suitable for human consumption or irrigation… ENF OF STORY!

  5. Projects planning bringing water to the west from the Mississippi have been drawn up. All we have to do is enact it. Lots of water in the Mississippi flows out to the salt water Gulf of Mexico and can be rerouted first, as a fresh water source for Arizona. Larouche drew up plans for bringing water south from the Columbia. Same idea. The big problem is not aliens, it’s an oncoming magnetic reversal, solar supernova and ice age coming in 2049 as described by Doug Vogt here

  6. Part of the truth is coming out. Globalist elites have been draining lakes and reservoirs worldwide. They drain the lakes, like a bathtub, to fill their massive underground cisterns for their own drinking supply. On top of that, they use geo-engineering to heat up the surface cities, causing drought conditions. Furthering the climate change narrative, green agenda. And the globalist elites have trucks bringing water via tunnel networks to the surface, that water is trucked to the bottling plants, and sold. Water will be more expensive than electricity, and soon enough people will have to line up to get the mark mRNA beast injection. I value my soul, so I will thirst. Lord Christ Jesus, destroy those who destroyed the earth. Lamentation 5:1-5 KJV. For your consideration, read the book of Joel KJV, the book of Zephaniah KJV. We are witnessing Revelation 16 KJV for those who have taken the genetic mRNA mark of the beast, the grievous sore. In the Pfizer documents, the covid19 injection is reactivating dormant varicella zoster, chickenpox/herpes/shingles. It is not Monkeypox, you can read the Pfizer documents about this. They are pushing the smallpox vaccine (used to “prevent“ monkeypox), if you have not taken the covid injection, do not get scared into taking the smallpox vaccine. Refuse any and all lethal injections from this point on, these vials are reserved for those that worship the beast. This new smallpox vaccine (not your father’s smallpox vaccine) will cause a new outbreak of smallpox/hemmoragic type virus. Not only will they have the pocks, but their organs will liquify, and bleed out. Let no man deceive you (Fauci, Trump, Bergoglio, Tedros, none of them) Matthew 24: 21-25. Do not let anyone deceive you into taking the genetic mark, not for water, or food, not nothing. God Almighty will provide.

  7. There is a underground complex. built for the elite, the water will be going there.
    All over the earth, these complexes, deep underground military bases, are built, and everywhere, under them the water is boing siphoned off for the elite demonic aliens, who live and will be living there.
    Elon Musk, one of them is in on it. They think they can hide there once, the Black sun arrives.
    Every one of them will be taken by the Black sun when it comes, no matter where they are.
    They don’t just want to starve you all, they want to make sure you have no water to grow food or to drink.
    They want to drop a yellow poison on the earth during ww3, that will kill all vegetation and prevent anything from growing there for a long enough time that everyone will become cannibals. They want to turn everyone into baby eating cannibals.
    Then they win. The only water left, on earth will also be poisoned, with radiation.
    The digital ID and the vaXXX, will all serve to kill people, not for any “great reset” with a new digital currency backed by gold.
    That is just for bait, a lure, to make everyone think there will be a new civilization with it.
    There won’t be, it is just a trick. They will trick you into everything with LIES and false hope that the damage and chaos they create will be fixed if you just submit and obey them. It will be worse than the covid VAXXX.
    They will lie and tell you the mark of the beast/digital ID and the chips in the brain will make you feel blissfully happy and ecstatically full of joy. Don’t be fooled, it will do the exact opposite. They want to do one thing, destroy you and your souls and your DNA, making you into low IQ animals they can torture. When FEMA gives you food, shelter and water in exchange for the mark and the contract you sign with it to denounce Christ and worship satan, it is a lie, once you take the mark, the food etc will stop and you will become food for cannibals. The elite are not human. They are demonic entities from Hell, in human bodies that became soulless or were cloned and therefore soulless.
    The truth is, that these entities, of Hell, came to earth a long time ago, in Atlantis, they manipulated your DNA, back then and turned you into “things”. That is why Atlantis was destroyed. It became Hell on earth for all humans, no longer human, by the manipulation and re-engineering of humans by these who were once angels.
    They spent all their time torturing humans. That is why they “fell”. They played that they were GODS, over you.
    That is why they were cast out of heaven for eternity.
    Because they made you humans of earth DEVOLVE lower, rather than what real Angels do: help you to EVOLVE higher.
    By the LAW of ONE, which is: ” You get back what you give.”, They also devolved into hideous reptilians stinky nasty demonic entities, and spend their time in Hell being tortured as they tortured you.
    They also created in their own likeness a race of beings on earth, (that now have their present, reptilian DNA), as the “sons of Belial”, who were like the soldiers who kept all the devolved former humans in line and lorded over them like sheep dogs so the sheep, but with vicious cruelty, more like wolves. The Children of the law of one, got their souls back, by the law of one and are all the gentile races of today.
    The wolves are the Khazarian/ashkenazi. Ever since there has been a war, for the souls of the gentiles. The Wolves, have been used to destroy you. As long as you kept the wolves out of your society, all was good and you evolved. Now that they run your society, you have been devolving rapidly and the dark demonic former angels, have gained power over all the earth, led by Lucifer and Satan. They made freemasonry and the Illuminati to procure soulless bodies for them to inhabit.
    The treaty with the dark aliens of 1956, president Eisenhower,(a wolf in sheep’s clothing) was one of the last nails in your coffins. There have been many nails over history. But exchanging human beings, babies and children to feed the elite vampires from Hell, for technology was probably the worst.
    The final nails are coming now in 2023. They will do the same thing now, that they did to you in the beginning, in Atlantis only worse, it has already begun.
    It was a test, this is the final test, to see if you choose to evolve higher by rejecting the devils playing God, who now rule the earth as the NWO, or do you choose to devolve by obeying their commands as they fool you all into submission again, forcing you all with Lies and tricks, into accepting that they are your “gods”.
    I think all he evidence, so far suggests that you willingly accept them as your Gods.
    As devolved beings, they are not creator Gods, they are destroyer anti-gods. They are the Antichrist.
    They are more devolved than you ever were, and will continue to devolve for what they do to all of you.
    You have all been worshiping them, and have rejected God and Christ, since ww2.
    Had Hitler won the war. Had you recognized God and not rejected him then, none of this would be happening.
    You have all been worshiping them, and have rejected God and Christ, since ww2.
    All because you are liars and all the things that against the 10 commandments of God.
    The law of one, is the law of reality. Liars (the 9th commandment) will be destroyed by Lies.
    They, under God’s total control, used only 3 things: Lies, minions: freeasonry and ashkenazi, and their control and ownership of the Money system, to destroy your souls, and take you from God forever. God has always been in control, you must prove that you choose God and reject the devil, before you can be restored to your previous perfection, the perfection you had before Lucifer and his made you their total slaves, and made you change from the image of God into devolved non-human things. Read the Henoch Prophecies and see the future you will have as ‘things’ again, robot slaves, lorded over by demonic reptilians from Hell, pretending the lie, that they are your “gods” is true.

    • @believe and Repent,

      There’s quite a bit of truth to what you wrote. Atlantis did have DNA experiments and hybrids. Nephelim were not all killed off by the Flood. Khazars, Kenites are the main problem infecting the world. They are demonseeds, from the line of Cain. They are not of Abraham’s line. All too often people will say you are antisemitic if you bring up these facts. That is false. Khazars/Kenites are not semetic.

  8. Wouldn’t surprise me in the least, if water was being siphoned from SW Lakes into D.U.M.B. underground bases for satanic elitists. Then it’s much easier to psyop the general public about the globull warming hoax. A genuine twofer.

  9. GeoWater, not atmospheric water. “GeoWater Blowing Out of The Water The Myth of a Water Scarcity” Video. Badass Uncle Sam/Alex Jones

  10. GREAT ARTICLE! Had always heard about this but wondered if it was just a rumor. Now we have to worry about everyone in Phoenix, Tucson and Southern California moving there.

  11. A poor decision, yeah OK. Hoping for rain is good and all, sure – but to stake so many lives
    and the city itself on that hope, nah.

    • @between

      They will EMP America, and blame Russia. Then redchinesey will invade, and try to kill everybody. Except we will annihilate all invaders.

  12. That sounds like a poor decision and very expensive. Almost a billion dollars. Hopefully the monsoons will bring levels back to where tunnel two is working again like it should.

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