Workman Thomas Albert Turner Dies in the Risky Las Vegas/Lake Mead Water Tunnel
Ninety percent of Las Vegas water currently comes from Lake Mead, which has shrunk in recent years due to ongoing drought and increasing
demand from seven states and more than 25 million people sharing Colorado River water rights under agreements dating to 1922.
One of the ways Las Vegas is working on to provide itself water is an impossibly difficult $187 million five-year engineering nightmare that involves tunneling for 3 miles 600 feet beneath the bed of nearby Lake Mead to create a channel that will eventually draw water from the very bottom of the dwindling lake. Some say that the project is as challenging as the building of Hoover Dam itself.
Lake Mead’s surface level has dropped about 100 feet in elevation since the lake was full in 2000. At current usage rates it will soon be dry. It is about half-full today, but Las Vegas plans to keep pumping its water as long as a drop remains.
In June of 2012, project worker Thomas Albert Turner, 44, died of an accident in the tunnel.