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Draft report, Las Vegas water supply recommendations, March 31, 1942







Details of twelve recommendations for the railroad to pursue with regards to water in the Las Vegas area. Drafted March 25, 1942, E. E. Bennett's penciled notes added March 31, 1942. Report has an "E.E.B. MAR 31 1942" date stamp.

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Box 75 Folder 174-2 Vol. II pt. 2 Department UPRR Water Supply-Las Vegas


hln001105. 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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LAS VEGAS WATER SUPPLY RECOMMENDATIONS (1) The investment of the LA&SLRRCo. in land, springs, wells, etc., west of the Las Vegas station grounds yields a gross return of about 10.5 per cent by reason of sale of water to the LVLandWCo. I therefore recommend that this property be left in the railroad company. The facilities were primarily acquired and installed for railroad use, and the railroad water tank, shop, stockyard, passenger station, etc., take water therefrom, except for whatever water may be furnished direct from the so-called railroad well on the shop grounds. (2) I recommend that the LVLandWCo. continue to own and use as at present its water distribution system, for the reason that operations are carried on with a substantial measure of profit, and indications are that this condition will continue. During the last six years there has been a net return on the book value of between 17 and 18 per cent (excluding the operating expense charges for replacement of wood pipe) and while 1942 will certainly show a reduction in the rate of return because of the very extensive enlargement of the distribution system which is planned, and the heavy expenditures for wells, etc., there should be at least a 12 1/2% return on book value, while 1943 should show about 17% again, due to a full year's use of water by new customers. (3) The day may come when we should sell our plant to the city of Las Vegas, but that time has not arrived. Our water rates are reasonable; our present service appears to satisfy, and so long as we continue our recent policy of extending distribution mains wherever reasonable inducement offers, municipal ownership is not likely to become a pressing issue. Neither the city nor ourselves would benefit from municipal ownership under existing conditions. (4) With regard to water from Lake Mead by extension of the line now being constructed to serve the magnesium plant, I think the subject should be gone into by Mr. Bracken with those active in the city's affairs, to determine whether the city wants the lake water, if it should be piped to Las Vegas, combined with the product from our springs and wells, or desire to limit the use of the lake water to larger industries, in which latter event our mains need not be connected with the Lake Mead line. (5) Estimates as to the amount of water supplied to the LVLandWCo., and also as to the amount sold by that company to its customers should not be resorted to as has been done during the 12 year period reviewed. I recommend replacement of meters Nos. 2601, 2594 and 7064 at Las Vegas with meters that will accurately measure the water. The responsibility for keeping meters in perfect operation should be firmly impressed upon the division superintendent of the LA&SLRR. No more meter failures should be permitted. (6) No system is in effect for auditing the revenues accruing to the LVLandWCo. from water sold. This condition should be corrected promptly. The first step under a simple accounting plan would be to inventory the service outlets and assign an audit number to each. The maintenance of these numbers would provide a running record of the sources of all water revenue and would be the base from which physical and office checks could be made at any time selected. Making the block 2. number or name a part of the service outlet numbers, as "Parkview Block 4 - outlet 7", for example, might be helpful. I recommend that the General Auditor be directed to devise and inaugurate a comprehensive plan to audit the revenues accruing to the LVLandWCo. from water sales, also that such revenues be checked on the ground by travelling auditors from time to time. (7) The practice of employing a special uniformed officer during the three hot months at the joint expense of the city and the LVLandWCo. to police waste of water should be continued from year to year. (8) Maintenance of friendly relations with the city officers and leading men of Las Vegas should be made an unvarying rule in order to prevent causes of irritation as far as possible. It has not been definitely ascertained that there has been any failure in this respect, but the subject is deemed of sufficient importance to be mentioned in this report. (9) It should be an established rule to provide extensions of mains to meet demands in all cases where justified by the prospective number of users, as has been our recent practice. Protection against loss is provided in such cases by the company's rules Nos. 9(a), 9(b) and 9(c) which provide as follows: 9(a) Ordinary extensions of mains or service pipes exceeding 100 feet: The customer or customers shall advance the estimated cost of such extension; the amount paid being subject to refund on the basis of 50% of the customers' monthly payments for water, limited to the maximum period of ten years. 3. 9(b) Extensions to, and, or in real estate subdivisions: Construction will be undertaken only under special contract, the entire cost of the extension to be advanced to the company; that sum being subject to refund to the party making the advance to the extent of 50% of the customers' monthly payments for water within a maximum period of ten years. 9(c) Water mains to and within Defense Housing Projects constructed during the present national emergency: The company will enter into contracts for the refunding of the cost advanced by the contracting party of construction within a distance from the company's nearest existing water main equal to not more than 20 feet multiplied by the number of houses which the contracting party agrees with the company to construct within the project. Such Housing Project must include the construction of not less than 20 dwellings, but at least one for each 50 feet of water main constructed within the subdivision. The mains shall be constructed at the cost of the contracting party, under the company's supervision and in accord with its specifications, and shall be owned, operated and maintained by the company upon completion of construction thereof. Refund of the cost shall be made to the contracting party if and when the latter shall have completed the construction of the number of houses required by the contract, within 24 months from the date of the contract. (10) It is recommended that Wells Nos. 1 and 2 be cleaned out in order to secure an increase of water flowing through them. (11) Sufficient pressure should be maintained in the water mains to meet the needs of all customers. This should be assured by installing booster pumps if and when needed. (12) I recommend that efforts be made to secure legislation in Nevada that will: (a) Provide for the capping of all artesian wells which are not in use, and to give the enactment teeth by providing that if the work be not done within a short, specified time, the county (or state) engineer shall have the well capped, the cost to be assessed against the property owner; (b) remove the prohibition against the use of customer meters in cities of more than 4,500 population, whereby the waste of water at Las Vegas can be fully controlled. 4. A detailed report underlying the foregoing recommendations follows. Office of Manager of Properties. Omaha, Nebraska. March 25, 1942. 5.