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The Last Straw: The construction project that could save Las Vegas water




An aerial view of the Hoover Dam and the Hoover Dam bypass under construction June 12, 2009 in the Lake Mead National Recreation Area.
An aerial view of the Hoover Dam and the Hoover Dam bypass under construction June 12, 2009 in the Lake Mead National Recreation Area.
Ethan Miller/Getty Images

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Las Vegas is famous for being a desert oasis of dancing fountains and shimmering pools, but in the midst of a long drought, the city is turning to drastic measures to keep the faucets flowing.

A massive construction project is underway to build a 20-foot tunnel underneath Lake Mead, called the Third Straw. The fist two straws are intake tunnels that have been drawing water from Lake Mead and transporting it to Las Vegas, but due to dwindling water levels, they could soon be sucking nothing but air.

The solution was the costly and time-consuming Third Straw. Kalee Thompson writes about the project in Popular Science magazine.