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Letter from R. L. Adamson (Los Angeles) to F. H. Knickerbocker, July 29, 1927







Discussion of the steps to be taken at the Las Vegas Springs and well field to increase water production.

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Physical Identifier

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


hln000868. 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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Los Angeles, July 29, 1927. 20-6. Mr. F. H . Knickerbocker: Regarding the water facilities at Las Vegas, Nevada, subject of your file 9216-355; Work Order 7393 covers the construction of a 12-inch cast Iron water pipe line from Little Spring to settling basin, which, when recommended, would have made available a total direct flow of approximately 3,200 gallons per minute, consisting of the flow from Artesian Well, 1,530 gallons per minute; Big Spring, 1,010 gallons per minute and Little Spring, 660 gallons per minute. I understand that the Artesian Well has decreased to such an extent that only 1,175 gallons per minute are at present available, making available a total direct flow at the present time of 2,845 gallons per minute. Middle Spring Is lower in elevation than the above-mentioned sources and, therefore, its flow of approximately 350 gallons per minute can not be made available without a loss in head. There is a further loss of approximately 260 gallons per minute coming up outside of the well-casing, which probably can not be diverted into the pipe line, econ-omically. The 610 gallons per minute is not an actual loss, except during winter months, as it may be used on the Company's ranch for irrigating purposes, but, as mentioned above, this water can not be made available for Railroad or City use without lowering the head on the main pipe line, which is not desirable, or installing a pump to overcome the difference in elevation. On account of having no storage facilities, we can enjoy the use of the 2,845 to 3,200 gallons per minute, direct flow, only when it is used as rapidly as it flows from the source. When this water is not used, it overflows from the settling basin into Las Vegas creek and may be used for irrigating purposes. During periods of hot weather the consumption by the City of Las Vegas, the Pacific Fruit Express Company and the Railroad Company is enormous, and when consideration is given to supplying the Hotel Company with approximately 560 gallons per minute in addition to serving Old Town through a new 6-inch pipe line as proposed by the L.V.L. and W.Co., together with the normal growth of Las Vegas and the Railroad facilities, it appears to me that serious consideration should now be given to the construction of a reservoir in order that during periods of relatively small use, such as between Midnight and 6:00 A.M. the direct flow may be stored for use during the peak-period between 3:00 P.M. and 9:00 P.M. The total flow from the Well, including the water used and that wasted, in July 1924 was found to be 3,644 gallons per minute, this decreased by March 1927 to 1,876 gallons per minute and on May 12th was found to be 1,647 gallons per minute, while on June 10th the flow was only 1,435 gallons per minute. A considerable part of the decrease may be due to seasonal variation in flow and annual sanding, although the history of practically all the artesian wells in this belt indicates that the flow in general is decreasing. During the past two months the pressure in the main supply - 3 - pipe has varied between 20 and 30 pounds on account of large consumption, resulting in drying of wood stave pipe, which causes leaks and rapid depreciation. when the pressure is less than 25 pounds, it is necessary to operate the fire pump as a booster or the softener is without water. Premature drilling of new wells to supply, by direct flow, the peak consumption, might result in complication of water rights as beneficial use must be proven covering a reasonable period of time the amount of water applied for. I have been advised that there are a number of wells from which water is flowing and going to waste and although I do not know what could be done to eliminate this condition, I believe we can at least call the matter to the attention of State authorities with a view of securing their co-operation in conserving the subterranean source of supply by capping these wells. Probably Mr. Bracken should handle this matter. For your consideration, I wish to recommend that survey be authorised and estimate prepared for 1923 budget item to cover the follow-ing facilities:- 1 - Concrete Reservoir, capacity 2,500,000 gallons, outlet to be located at the end of the 24-inch wood stave pipe line approxi-mately 1,800 feet east of the settling basin. 1 - Gravel Filter at intake to reservoir. 1 - 24-inoh cast iron main supply line from the proposed reservoir outlet to connect with existing 16-inch cart iron pipe line in the shop grounds. 1 - Electrically-driven Pump to be installed in Well back of roundhouse, capacity 500 gallons per minute; well to be tested prior to making permanent installation. 1 - Elevated Storage Tank to be installed in shop grounds, capacity 225,000 gallons. A rough estimate has been made of the probable coat, in order that this important feature may be given consideration, and it is thought that the entire installation could be lade for approximately $175,000. In making the above recommendation, consideration has been given to all contingencies such as fire hazards, increase in Railroad business, increase in population of Las Vegas, together with hazards which might exist under certain conditions if we did not have an adequate supply of water in our yards. Consideration was given to the sanitary conditions by recommending a gravel filter and this treatment would also provide a more desirable water for boiler use during such time as the softener is undergoing repair. With the above installation and when consumption is equal to the available supply, additional storage should be constructed or an additional well drilled and the flow discharged into the reservoir; the procedure depending, of course, upon conditions existing at the time. It would be my recommendation that the reservoir be designed so that additional units could be constructed when larger storage facili-ties were found economically necessary in order to conserve direct flow and properly supply the consumers. R. L. ADAMS0N. cc-Mr. W.R .Armstrong. ltj-cnb