is facing its biggest crisis ever.
How much longer can the Colorado River sustain us?
No Southwestern state gets less water from the Colorado River than Nevada.
No major city relies on that water more than Las Vegas.
But the river is in trouble.
Twenty years of withering drought in the mountains that feed the Colorado have sapped its flow and shrunk its two largest reservoirs, Lake Powell and Lake Mead.
The surface of Lake Mead is 130 feet lower now than it was in January 2000. It is expected to fall another 30 feet by January 2021, without significant cuts by water users.
Southern Nevada is spending almost $1.5 billion on a new straw and pumping station at Lake Mead that can draw water from the bottom of the shrinking reservoir.
But how much more can Las Vegas grow before the water runs out?
In this series, the Review-Journal will take a close look at where our water comes from and where our community is headed.