IS THERE ENOUGH WATER?
INFORMATION AND POINT OF VIEW BY: KURT GROSSE
Is Las Vegas going to run out of water? What is the water situation in Las Vegas? What’s going on here with the drought? Is the conservation hard to live with? Sometimes it seems like everyone I talk to asks about the drought. My blog is more about facts then the one Terri wrote which is more about her point of view. I suggest that you check hers out too. So my answer to the above questions tends to be along the line of “Is there a drought anymore?” Las Vegans have been conserving water for so long that it has become a lifestyle and is not really noticed. If the drought is over I doubt that conservation will change.
Las Vegas averages 4.19 inches of rain per year making it the driest bigger city in the United States. Phoenix averages 8.03 inches annually, almost twice the rainfall that we get. Local rainfall does not sustain the needs of 2 million residents and the 250,000 tourists each weekend.
Every resident and tourist uses ice and water for food and drink and to wash dishes after meals. They also need to bathe and use restrooms. Then there’s the landscaping, palm trees and all those sparkling pools and delightful water parks. Golf courses have to be watered and tourist attractions need water too. The demand is huge!
Where Does The Water Come From?
The Colorado River is where most of our water comes from and about 10% from an underground aquifer. Community wells supply many custom home groups typically on 1/2 acre lot cup-de-sacs. The municipal water company frequently tries to encourage these community well associations to convert to the public water and sewer systems. Because the only cost involved with these wells is maintaining the equipment, it has understandably been a slow change.
SUPPLY AND DEMAND:
The Southern Nevada Water Authority (SNWA) is the agency tasked with supplying the entire valley. SNWA has done an excellent job over the years to ensure we have ample Colorado River rights. There are agreements in place that will supply the valley for decades to come. The Virgin River from Utah has been secured as an optional resource. Currently the demand doesn’t justify the expense that would be involved to pipeline that river and make a new pumping station. A lesser expense would be to pipeline the Virgin River into the Colorado River and use the existing pumping station. For now, enjoy the Virgin River while it remains wild. If we continue to conserve, it will stay wild and can continue carving the Virgin River Gorge and enhancing the beauty of our local desert.
Southeast of the valley is Lake Mead and the Hoover Dam. Ten years ago there was over 100 miles of lake shoreline. Not any more. Water released from Lake Powell flows into Lake Mead and in drought years Lake Powell only releases the minimal amount required by law. Lake Mead has to release more water than it takes in to supply Nevada, Arizona, California and Northern Mexico. In May of 2016, Lake Mead’s water level reached its lowest point since originally being filled in May of 1937. Lake Mead is still the largest man made reservoir in the country and theoretically there is no danger of it drying up due to the water and electrical resources it provides to the entire Southwest.
Thanks to being a supportive and aware community, Las Vegas shines as an example of water conservation success. Las Vegas Valley residents have managed to reduce the per person water usage by 40% during the last 15 years! Years ago an effort to remove water features and grass landscaping started. Homes now install re-circulation systems, water efficient appliances and low-flow fixtures. Desert plants, decorative metal and cement art and hard-scaping are now used with rock-scaping on the streets, community areas and freeways. Businesses also implemented conservation plans. Watering days were assigned for automatic sprinklers with a ticketing program for abusers. Car washes recirculate water and nozzles go on hoses. It has worked! Together we have created a large change for our city and our planet. Over 500,000 new residents have been added with hardly any increase in usage levels because of these few efforts that go un-noticed.
THE HARDSHIP ON ME:
Personally we don’t notice that we are conserving. I have to drive through the car wash (so sad) and we have instant hot water. The biggest effort I make is to turn off the sink faucet while brushing my teeth. We spend less on utility bills because of the conserving features on systems and appliances. I love desert landscaping and no lawn to mow. Everything is automated. The pool fills itself so I never over-fill it anymore. The waterfall only runs when I turn it on. The yard waters itself. I hire landscapers to trim bushes and spray for weeds 3 times a year. The patio is swept instead of being hosed off. Actually I like conserving water!
So come on down, tour the Springs Preserve and enjoy a boat ride on Lake Mead. You can lounge by the pool at the hotel and local water parks and watch the Fountains at Bellagio. We have plenty of the cool wet stuff for everyone to use and enjoy for many years to come!
PERSONAL NOTE- If you buy or sell a home with our team in 2017-2018 we will gift you by planting 2 x-large evergreen trees in your yard. If you refer a friend who also buys or sells, have another tree! Get your yard landscaped by us as a thank you!