Corey Enus, Senior Public Information Coordinator, Las Vegas Valley Water District
Beneath the streets of Las Vegas is an elaborate network of water pipelines that keep water flowing to the Las Vegas Valley Water District’s (LVVWD) nearly 400,000 residential and commercial customers. While portions of this network were built during the 1990s and early 2000s, a period of rapid growth for the community, the water infrastructure in other areas of the valley is more than half a century old.
Despite the widely differing ages of water delivery components, the LVVWD has proven to be one of the nation’s most reliable systems, with a pipeline break rate eight times lower than the national average and one of the country’s best efficiency ratings. Ensuring that all portions of the LVVWD’s water system remain reliable in the decades to come remains a top priority.
The LVVWD is investing approximately $600 million into the community’s $1.7 billion water delivery system, the majority of which is dedicated to the renewal of existing infrastructure. This includes replacing portions of the LVVWD’s 6,800-linear-mile labyrinth of water transmission and distribution pipelines that connect individual customers to the municipal water supply.
Another area of focus is maintaining the valley’s massive pumping stations, which can move up to 1.25 million gallons of water per minute into large reservoirs strategically positioned throughout the valley. Capitalizing upon the valley’s topography, the water delivery system is largely gravity-fed from these reservoirs, reducing energy costs and allowing for uninterrupted water service even during power outages.
Finally, the LVVWD anticipates a need to expand the water distribution system as the economy grows to ensure customer needs are met. While developers are responsible for the vast majority of costs associated with water infrastructure for new development, the LVVWD is responsible to ensure a sufficient water supply is available to those developments. To achieve the same high level of reliability that existing customers enjoy, engineers identify and design reservoirs, pumping stations and other infrastructure necessary to meet projected needs.