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Letter from Walter R. Bracken (Las Vegas) to W. M. Jeffers (Los Angeles), June 18, 1938






Bracken briefing Jeffers on the production problems with Well No. 2, a possible rate increase due to evaporative water coolers, and the water shortage in Las Vegas

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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)


hln000890. 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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Water Supply at Las Vegas: Las Vegas - June 18th, 1938. W 23-3-3 Mr. W. M. Jeffers, President, Los Angeles, Calif. Dear Sir: Referring to telephone conversation just now with R. B. Denton who asked for copy of newspaper of June 10th containing our water advertisement, and your later wire A-168 from Omaha in reference to the water situation here in Las Vegas: I am enclosing copy of all correspondence in connection with this matter, and as the shortage occurred when Mr. Mann was passing through Las Vegas, I discussed this very thoroughly with him and at that time wrote Roscoe Moss Company concerning the condition of flow from the new well and the advisability of perforating the casing or pumping the wall, which has apparently fallen off very decidedly. I am pleased to advice you that since the advertisements, as herewith enclosed, were brought before the public, as well as the comments of the editor shown a new item on front page, the water situation has materially improved. In measuring the reservoir each morning, we find we have almost a full reservoir with evidences of overflow during the night. This favorable condition is due to the cooperation of the public as enlisted through the press, and also to the fact that we have had comparatively cool weather in Las Vegas for the past week. We hope that this favorable condition will continue, and are watching it very closely. Referring to the suggestion in your A-168 that we make application to the Commission for permission to increase rates on all water used for cooling, I wish to advise that the Commission's ruling in 1931 covered water used in refrigerating (ice) machines only and did not apply to air cooling machines used in homes, which were unknown at that time. In view of the popularity of these coolers, it is very likely that a request on our part for permission to increase rates on water use, in cooling machines would result in a public hearing by the Commission. We are very anxious to avoid a public hearing on our rates, as this is election year in Nevada we can look for the usual ballyhoo about municipal ownership of electric and water utilities which has been a political football in this locality for the past five years; and besides a public hearing would bring up the question of our profits on the water system which have been running from 13 to 19 cent including taxes and depreciation, and would run 33.7 per cent excluding the $18,710.52 paid the Railroad Company for "Rent of Pipe Lines" during 1937. The effect which "Rent for Pipe Lines" has on our net profits, is the item which the Public Service Commission dwelt so heavily upon in the last public hearing in 1931. I believe it would be much better to adopt sug-gestion "B" in your telegram, to "Penalize the use of water for that purpose so as to prevent shortages of water for essentially necessary purposes", and this can be handled more advantageously by strengthening the present city ordinance, rather than taking the matter up with the Public Service Commission. We now have a city ordinance which prohibits the useless waste of water, and I assure you we have the full cooperation of the police department in checking up offenders. However, these are one or two ways in which the present ordinance should be strengthened, as for instance some people turn their hose on, without a nozzle, and Iet it run on the lawn; this cannot be observed by a cursory examination from the street, and we propose to correct this by an ordinance that will prohibit the use of water through a hose without a nozzle or sprinkling device. As a matter of fact, we have the cooperation of 90 per cent of the people in Las Vegas, as they are aware of the fact that the conservation of water is for their own benefit; it is the other 10 per cent who must have city ordinances and checking up by the police department and our-selves to stop the usaless waste of this commodity. If we had the full flow from Well #2 which it originally produced, there would be ample water for all purposes and at all times. At the completion of drilling by ths Roscoe Moss Company, the new well produced 3,398,400 gallons per day; a weir measurement made three months showed this production has dropped off to 763,048 gallons per day. Under these circumstances, we are not receiving much benefit from the heavy investment made a year or so ago in the new wall and pipe line from the well to settling basin, as the total amount of water now available, instead of being doubled, is only 6% more than it was before the new well was drilled. At the present time, when we have a full reser-voir and comparatively cool weather, would be the beat time to have the well driller take whatever action is necessary to restore Well #3 to its full flow, before we get into the really heavy drain placed on our resources in July and August. If there is any further detailed information desired, please wire me and I will furnish it. Yours very truly, WALTER R. BRACKEN Vice President and Agent. cc - Mr. W. M. Jeffers, Omaha. Mr. H. C. Mann, Omaha.