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Letter from Walter R. Bracken (Las Vegas) to W. M. Jeffers (Omaha), August 26, 1935






General overview of the Las Vegas water situation, covering possible municipal ownership, the Las Vegas Springs, irrigation on the Las Vegas Ranch, and more.

Digital ID


Physical Identifier

Box 13 Folder W23-3-3 LVL&WC (Report of R. G. Greene, Geologist)(re: water situation in LV Valley)


hln000875. Union Pacific Railroad Collection, 1828-1995. MS-00397. Special Collections and Archives, University Libraries, University of Nevada, Las Vegas. Las Vegas, Nevada.


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Manual transcription





Las Vegas, Nevada, August 26, 1935. Mr. W. M. Jeffers, President, Las Vegas Land and Water Co., Omaha, Nebraska. Dear Sir: Referring to conference with you in Los Angeles some weeks ago in reference to the water situation here in Las Vegas, and your request that I interview the City Com-missioners and others in reference to purchase of our system for municipal ownership: From time to time I have consulted the City Com-missioners and a great many of our most reputable citizens and tax-payers concerning this matter, and find it is not at present the desire of either the City Commission or the the purchase of our system, not only to avoid further bonded indebtedness but also because our present water rates are in general satisfactory to the people of this community. The investment of the Las Vegas Land and water by present book valuation. In addition, the facilities west of the railroad track, owned jointly by the LA&SL and LVL&W have a book value of $l73,297.67, making a total valuation of facilities of $266.965.09. The Las Vegas Land and Water Com-pany pays an annual rental of 17,723.88 on these facilities, which is 84.45% of the total expense, the balance being borne by the railroad. The water-bearing land owned by the City of Las Vegas miles from town, and to take over our water mains and provide sufficient wells on their land, storage facilities and trans-mission mains to the city would necessitate an investment in excess of $300,000. Were bonds leaned for this amount, the railroad company and its subsidiaries would be responsible for Mr. Jeffers: Aug. 26, 1935. more than 50% of the bond issue, basing this figure on the proportion of taxes we now pay. we also discussed the possibility of a large uncov-ered auxiliary reservoir, to draw from daring the summer months. After farther consideration, it is doubtful that such an auxiliary reservoir would be of any assistance after the first half of July and the state Health department would probably require a chlorination and filtering plant. This would require an additional investment for construction of a plant. cost of its operation. Daring the past summer, the Las Vegas Ranch. com-prising about 750 acres, owned by the LVL& W Co., has had no water from the Las Vegas creek for irrigation purposes, al-though the lease requires delivery of 100 inches at all times. During the summer the leasee has done his irrigating from the water delivered on the Ranch from the city sewage disposal plant. This ranch pays us 2,000 per year rental, which is approximately 10% of its assessed valuation. It is essential that we keep the ranch, to take care of surplus water during the winter months, and it would be much to our advantage to be able to furnish sufficient water for proper cultivation during the summer months so we could continue to receive the revenue in rental. The principal source of earnings of the ranch is from dairy products, the lessee having about 100 dairy cows on feed in the pasture at til times, the milk from a great deal of difficulty this summer, due to lack of water not only for irrigation, but also or his stock, taking care of his milk house, and for domestic purposes. During the past year, the City Administration has refused to cooperate with us by passing an ordinance to we have been unable to protect ourselves, as the state law prohibits use of meters. While it is quite possible we may be able to obtain some assistance from the City Commission during the coming summer and the year thereafter, we should bo able to produce sufficient water to avoid operating the pump in the railroad yard and also to provide for farther increase in the population of the city. Mr. Jeffers: #3 Aug. 26, 1935. In view of the fact that the cry for municipal ow-nership of water facilities has died down, and it is going to be our responsibility to provide sufficient water for the city, I believe the proper solution for our water problems here is to drill another well. We have not yet had an ac-curate estimate made of the cost of drilling such a well, but based on the cost of the well drilled in 1926 it should run between six and seven thousand dollars. For the past three summers, we have been just "getting by", and the additional care of the demand during the summer months, prevent a revival of the municipal ownership advocates, and in addition provide sufficient water to properly irrigate the Ranch. investment, in addition to paying 84% of the cost of operating the water facilities west of the railroad track, and it would certainly be to out advantage to continue this arrangement. If the railroad company does not wish to incur the expense of an additional well, the cost could be borne by the Las Vegas Land and water Company, and same credited to our Capital account, thereby reducing the percentage of our earning on investment. Our Auditor's office is required to submit an annual report to the Nevada Public service Com-mission. showing our operating expenses and revenues and our investment and these reports are available to public Inspection. I learn that on two different occasions, advocates of municipal Commission for copies of our reports, and other data The reason I am bringing this subject up at the pres-ent time is so that consideration may be given to including the cost of an additional well in the 1936 Budget. Yours very truly. Vice President.