Summary of latest water crisis with the recommendations of Commissioner Williams to correct it.
hln001097. Union Pacific Railroad Collection, 1828-1995. MS-00397. Special Collections and Archives, University Libraries, University of Nevada, Las Vegas. Las Vegas, Nevada. http://n2t.net/ark:/62930/d1r20vw7r
Report, dated July 23, 1949, written by Commissioner Williams re Las Vegas Land & Water Co,. During the extremely hot weather proceeding July 19th in Las Vegas, the use of water supplied by the Las Vegas Land & Water Co. reached an all-time high. Production at the rate of 16,500,000 gallons per day or 700 gallons per day per person was not sufficient to equal the consumption. The reserve held in two reservoirs with 4 million gals. capacity was gradually depleted. Four wells in the first artesian zone around 400 feet in depth were being pumped to capacity. Eight wells in the second artesian zone at about 800 feet or more, as well as the two natural springs were contributing to the system at full flow. Total 16,500,000 gallons per day. Booster pumps in the supply lines were being operated by the water company in an attempt to maintain equal pressure throughout the system. The high point in the system is in the area south of Charleston Avenue in the Huntridge Addition. The mains supplying this area also extend east to the lowest point on the system toward the intersection of Charleston Ave. and Boulder Highway. As the water supply dwindled, the unusual use of water in this low point reduced pressure in the Huntridge area to such a extent that water would not flow at a number of the homes on the higher ground. At the same time, water pressure failed near Fifth and Fremont Streets, notably on the upper floors in the El Cortez Hotel and in Sears-Roebuck store. On July 19th Mayor Cragin proclaimed an emergency and prohibited the use of water on lawns between nine A.M. and five P.M. daily. Next day, on July 20th, pressure in the mains during the day increased to 46 lbs. to the square inch, which is normal winter pressure. Storage in the reservoirs increased to full capacity. During the peak evening (5:00 to 9:00 P.M.) no complaints were received, but next morning, July 21st, Mr. E. P. Hobart of 15th and Stewart Streets advised that pressure had been low around 8:00 PM. Mr. Folger of the Water Co. expects to relieve the situation near Mr. Hobart's home at once by installing additional cross main or larger main. Pressure-reducing valves have been ordered for installation on east Charleston to reduce pressure in low spot (about 100 lbs.) to normal so as to maintain pressure in Huntridge. Water Co. plans to drill two wells into second artesian zone before the 1950 peak season. Consumption of water for the past 3 years shows that the increase in use far surpasses the increase in population. 1947 peak about 13 million gals. daily, 1948 about 14 million, 1949 16 1/2 million. This shows an all-time high in 1949 both as to total and as to per capita use. (Phoenix, Ariz, with comparable temperature, but on meters, is 148 gals, per day per person). Two City Patrolmen, paid by the Water Co., have been unable to reduce the waste of water to any great extent although water may be seen running down gutters at various places in the city any summer day. The Las Vegas City administration complains that the sewage disposal plants are being flooded by excessive use of water during the summer months. I believe that under the present plan of conservation during the day for irrigation use, the situation will be relieved through the hottest weather. I believe this Commission should follow up this investigation to be sure that the water company does everything in their power to correct the shortage situation before another summer season arrives. The water company should be required to increase distribution facilities to the area south of Charleston so that equal pressure can be maintained under all conditions. Additional mains or larger mains should be laid to give the business area a larger head of water and to increase the static pressure. All dead-end mains should be eliminated. The water company should be informed as early as possible as to the results of the water district engineers report. /s/ Chas. V. Williams, Commissioner Public Service Commission of Nevada.