Chasing Water

Las Vegas Marina

New location of Las Vegas Marina on Lake Mead. Note the bathtub ring in the background. Photo courtesy National Park Service

When I was in Vegas in April, I heard several talks on the way folks on Lake Mead engage in a practice they call “chasing water”. As the water storage reservoir recedes, the Park Service extends boat ramps farther and farther. The owners of the Las Vegas Marina, which used to sit up in Las Vegas Wash, did a series of incremental moves of their infrastructure until the finally had to give up the site entirely and move miles around the lake to a new site that is not as vulnerable to the lake’s rise and fall. Most notably, the Southern Nevada Water Authority is building a massive new intake pipe deeper in the lake for Las Vegas’s water supply: the “third straw”.

I was reminded of that today by a New York Times story about how this is done on the Dead Sea, where dropping water level is a way of life:

“We chase after the water with steps,” said Yusef Matari, a lifeguard at the private beach, Neve Midbar, or Desert Oasis. Mr. Matari has been working in the area for 20 years. “It changes every month,” he said. “There is no permanent shore.”

(h/t Robert Osborne for pointing out the Dead Sea story)