Which Way To Run: Decision Time For Water Conservation In Las Vegas

Via The Next American City comes an insightful article on the coming culture clash in Las Vegas. Cited directly from the lengthy article, here's the factual context: - "...in 1990, although the farming sector only generated 2 percent of the state’s [Nevada, USA] income, it consumed 80 percent of the state’s water. Nor does agriculture have any ancillary benefit for tourism,... nobody comes to Nevada to see farms. In his 2002 book Neon Metropolis, [Professor Hal] Rothman writes that “Nevada would dearly miss the MGM if it couldn’t get enough water, but if all of Nevada’s agriculture and ranching dried up and blew away, urban Nevada might not notice for years....A 2006 report by the non-profit Western Resource Advocates found that Las Vegas uses 60 percent more water per capita than nearby Tucson, which has encouraged water conservation by, among other things, raising rates for customers. In 2006, the Progressive Leadership Alliance of Nevada (PLAN) determined that Las Vegas could save 153,000 acre-feet (50 billion gallons) of water per year simply by encouraging conservation measures like installing efficient faucets, toilets, and washers in all new homes and not watering lawns." What it seems to boil down to is that Las Vegas is bound into a cultural acceptance of boom development, fed by a fast growing tourism and entertainment economy. Not that there isn't green movement, as we've indicated in our postings here, and here. It's just that water has been managed like poker chips. Unless water conservation is embraced, the Road Runner is building his own trap. Image credit: Road Runner,S. Pinker photos.

Best of TreeHugger