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How INDAR is helping Las Vegas deal with the worst drought on record for the Colorado River Basin

Industry News
This schematic diagram shows the elevation of the 3 water intakes that move water from Lake Mead to the city of Las Vegas. The newest intake - intake 3 in the diagram - is approximately 220 feet below the lakes' 2015 surface elevation. (Image source: Public domain image produced by

How INDAR is helping Las Vegas deal with the worst drought on record for the Colorado River Basin

Facing the worst drought on record in the Colorado River Basin, as lake levels continue to fall, the Southern Nevada Water Authority (SNWA) is building a low lake level pumping station to ensure Las Vegas and Southern Nevada maintain access to its primary water supplies in Lake Mead.

Lake Mead water levels have dropped more than 131 feet (40 meters) since the drought began in 2000. The new pumping station will allow SNWA to pump water from Lake Mead from an elevation as low as 875 feet (267 meters) above sea level into the water treatment facilities and further on to provide water to the city of Las Vegas and neighboring communities.

Image Courtesy of Southern Nevada Water Authority

Development of the pumping station consists of constructing a 315 inch diameter access shaft at more than 498 ft. depth. At the bottom of the access shaft, a 12,379 sq. ft. underground cavern is excavated. The cavern, known as a fore bay, will connect with 34 vertical shafts — each 498 feet deep and 72 inches in diameter — to accommodate the station’s 34 submersible motor pump sets. Thirty of these pump sets will be manufactured and installed by Indar.

Image Courtesy of Southern Nevada Water Authority


So far, 20 low lift submersible motor pump sets (LLP) plus 10 high lift submersible motor pump sets (HLP) will be delivered by Indar.

Maria Elena Rodríguez, Water Engineering Director at Indar, explains, “the drop of Lake Mead enables wells to be drilled down in order to access those deep water reservoirs…making a traditional vertical turbine solution unfeasible to operate reliably at those depths”.

Each of those 30 Indar pumps is rated at 20,835 US gallons per minute with 433 ft. and 695 ft. of head, respectively, providing a total capacity at the pumping station of more than 900 MGD (million gallons per day). “These are more than 250 bath tubs every second,” illustrates Dirk Wulf, a Project Manager at Indar.

Image of Construction Site Courtesy of Southern Nevada Water Authority

The pumps are operated through submersible motor pump sets with 13,800-volt motors, ranging from 3,150 HP through 5,200 HP. These pumps sets will obtain the required energy right from the hydro power plant at the nearby Hoover Dam. The pumps, motors, riser pipes, and well heads are made of stainless steel 316/316L in order to guarantee a long service life and to reduce the impact of the water.

In order to test the pumps and motors on full load performance, Indar has built an additional test lab 98.4 ft. deep and 158 x 197 inches wide. This $2 Million Euro investment enables Indar to guarantee the highest performance standards and a lead production schedule in order to fulfil the tight project schedule for SNWA. “Since the motor pump sets need to be ready for start-up by April 2020, we gain now the time which we had invested into the new test lab”, states Jon Alberdi, General Manager of Indar Pump Division.

From the fore bay, the water will be pumped to SNWA’s water treatment facilities. The high-volume low lake level pumping station, combined with the recently completed Lake Mead Intake No. 3, will provide the community continued access to its primary water supply even as lake levels fluctuate as a result of the ongoing drought.

Image of Construction Site Courtesy of Southern Nevada Water Authority

The design and construction cost of the Lake Mead Intake No.3 is expected to total approximately $650 Million, and L3PS is on track to be operational by 2020.

“We are aware of our responsibility to enable 2 million people and an uncountable number of visitors to have their shower every morning, to have a reliable source of water and quality of life,” declares Wulf. “We have considered every single detail in order to make this pumping station be one of the most advanced and efficient pumping stations in the world”. It is one of the largest already.

Image Courtesy of Southern Nevada Water Authority

This L3PS pumping station with its huge 30 Indar submersible motor pump sets will be the blueprint for newly-built large pumping stations, and furthermore, for refurbishment of all old-fashioned vertical turbine equipped stations.

With this achievement, Indar reinforces its position as a leading engineered solutions provider for demanding water supply projects. Municipal water authorities, utilities, and engineering companies who have partnered with Indar have received comprehensive support from Indar’s ‘one-stop-shop’, gaining easily installed motor pump sets, efficient pumping, high performance, and more efficient water use.

About Indar

Indar, an Ingeteam company, is a leading electrical rotating machine and submersible motor pump set manufacturing company headquartered in Beasain, Spain, who has a global operation with production facilities in Spain, the United States of America, and Mexico. Indar provides comprehensive energy generation solutions for Wind, Hydro, Stationary Power, Steam & Gas sectors, along with advanced marine electric propulsion systems (motors and generators) and water engineering solutions for water supply projects. Indar´s installed capacity is 35 GW in power generation throughout five continents.

Visit for more information.

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