The Looming Water Crisis in Las Vegas
Though an impressive snowmelt this spring boosted supply when it streamed down the Colorado River -- provider of 90 percent of Southern Nevada’s water -- the region worries constantly about the effects of drought. Under current conditions, the Southern Nevada Water Authority (SNWA) claims the region’s demand for water will eclipse supply by late in the next decade. And a study released this spring by the U.S. Department of the Interior’s Bureau of Reclamation found that climate change (or climate volatility) could reduce Southern Nevada’s share of the Colorado River by at least 7 percent each year.That annual decrease is a huge threat to the Las Vegas region's economy, just as recovery appears to slowly take hold in recent months. The region is becoming a bulwark of innovative health care providers and information technologies, and they will all need safe access to water. Water stewardship must be on the agenda of residents and businesses so that everyone in southern Nevada can enjoy that most enviable lifestyle. The hospitality industry has got to have a central role, too, though that will not be easy: admonishing guests and employees to be more mindful of water use is a prickly task when travelers and revelers want to behave differently (and more decadently) than they do when they at home. Watch for water fireworks to mark Las Vegas in the coming year. Photo courtesy Vincent Casella (click to expand).
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