Everyone Asks Me Where The Water Comes From – Now I Know

River Mountain Control TowerThanks to the tour I took this morning as one of the 25 Las Vegas Citizens who were chosen to be in this year’s “Citizen Leadership Academy”. It’s a 10 part course on the behind the scenes activity of running a major city. My biggest observation after 3 classes is that I’m astounded at how little I really knew.

The Las Vegas Water District and the Southern Nevada Water Authority deliver clean water to our homes and businesses. We toured the River Mountain Water Treatment Facility. They say it’s the finest and newest state of the art water treatment plant in the country.

There’s lots of steps involved to get the water out of Lake Mead and into our toilets and sinks and washing machines. There’s also a gorgeous facility high on the hill overlooking Henderson and the rest of the Valley.

River Mountain Flow Split StructureThe water Authority is the single biggest customer of Nevada Power. It takes a lot of water to make electricity, and it takes a lot of electricity to pump and move and purify the water on it’s way to our homes.

Solar Panels, owned by SNWA will soon be installed to lower the power bill and for overall energy conservation.

Naturally, I took lots of pictures to share with you. It’s a shame that the facility no longer allows open tours for security purposes, but organized groups from schools, or boy scouts etc can still get a tour.  The entire plant was laid out with well thought out graphics, shaded walking paths with small signs identifying all the water smart desert plants used in the landscape. It’s truly an impressive feat of civil engineering to deliver water to 2 million people in the middle of a desert.

River Mountain Pipes Move Water From The Ozonization Tanks To The Carbon Filter Tanks

So Now, When people ask my where the water comes from, I’ll be able to say more than just “Lake Mead”.

I’ll tell them we suck it out of 2 straws in the deepest part of the lake. Then we pump it up over the River Mountains to the water treatment plant.

It’s ozonated, bleached, filtered, chlorinated, fluoridated and gravity fed down to 14 holding tanks located thru out the valley. The holding tanks gravity feed the water thru smaller and smaller pipes till it reaches the faucet in the kitchen. Now you know. Below are a whole bunch of more pictures of of 100 million gallons of water a day. River mountain ozone generation

The “Law Of The River” which was negotiated between all the states that share Colorado River Water was negotiated in 1932. It allowed Nevada to have 300,000 acre feet a year of water. We use a lot more than that, but we get a credit for all the water that we can purify and put back into the lake.

Part Two of our field trip today was to one of the several sewage treatment plants. Part Two of my coverage of the trip will be posted in the next few days.


River Mountain Rapid Mixing Process








River Mountain Filtration Tanks








River Mountain Flocculation-The big word of the day!








River Mountain Removing The Impurities