Sunday, August 14, 2005

News: Vegas heading for 'dry future'

The dirty secret of most desert communities (my own home town included) is that they consume large amounts of water in a region that doesn't have much. You hear it when large California cities take water from farmers that took it from someone else. You hear it whenever a new golf course opens. My old elementary school used to have water-conservation PSA's put on by actors claiming to be from another planet that had used up all of their water (at least I think they were actors). This is an interesting article that points out the real consumers of water in Las Vegas may not be the casinos and water theme parks, but rather the residents.

Local hotels account for just 7% of the area's total water usage . . . The hotel casinos use only 30% of their water allocation on outdoor use, while 70% is used indoors in rooms and kitchens and that water is reclaimed and used again. But when you look at the residential statistics, the figures are reversed. Water authorities estimate around 70% of residential water is used outdoors, washing the car and irrigating the lawns, and only 30% is used indoors. Although Nevada has been banking excess water from the Colorado River in Arizona, environmentalists fear this is a short-term solution. The SNWA hopes a $5 billion 555km pipeline from central Nevada could be the answer to the future water needs of Las Vegas. But farmers and residents in rural parts of the state are unwilling to share the precious resource and it is becoming a battle known as "craps versus crops".

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