Las vegas water issue

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las vegas, the kingdom of water wasting

Cyrielle COLLEU / 3334878

Tourism – Fact Sheet
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Las Vegas is a United State city located in the middle of the Mojave Desert, in Clark's county, in the State of the Nevada. Thanks to the liberal laws concerning games of the State of Nevada, the city acquired a world’s fame for itscasinos resort and associated entertainment. The whole economy of Las Vegas is actually based on those activities. Las Vegas benefits from a huge hotel capacity (more than 140 000 hotel rooms for now), which ranks it as the first hotel city of the world and as the fifth most visited US city right after New York, Los Angeles, Miami and San Francisco. Las Vegas population has been multiplied threefoldin 20 years and we can count today almost 560,000 inhabitants.

Here is the development of Las Vegas between 1973 and 2000. Today, it is even more spread.

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Increase of Las Vegas population

Some interesting figures
The water consumption in Las Vegas is 870 liters per person and per day, which isfourfold more than in Paris. Las Vegas welcomes 40,000,000 visitors per years. A golf consumes 5,000m ³ of water per day in watering, which represents the consumption of a city of 12,000 persons ¾ of the Las Vegas water consumption is caused by gardens or golf. Las Vegas fights against the water wasting: the careless persons risk a 5,000 USD for water leaks. Las Vegas municipality offers to houses’landlords 11 dollars per square meter of removed lawn. In 10 years the Mead lake decreased by half because of the increasing draining. An Amman inhabitant consumes 15 times less water than an American and spends 10 times more money, in proportion, than a French people.

1900 1920 1940 1960 1980 2000 2008

• 25 • 2,304 • 8,422 • 64,405 • 164,674 • 478,434

 

    

• 558,383

Issuerelated to its location
Las Vegas’ climate raises big problems of water. Its extremely warm and dry summers are due to its arid and desert climate, which can exceed 100°F. The city receives on average only 100 mm of rain per year with approximately 290 days of sun which is not sufficient to supply to the huge needs of Las Vegas. For years, Las Vegas extends and the intensive farming dry thewater ground out. To support the water consumption of the city, Las Vegas’ inhabitants count on the Hoover dam. This dam led to the creation of the Mead Lake, a 640 square kilometer reservoir containing approximately 35 cubic kilometer of water, which is 35 billion cubic meters!

This hydroelectric power station is the 35th biggest dam of the world and allows supplying with electricity a lot ofstates including Las Vegas City. The problem is that the increase of the general consumption combined with global warming make the level of the Colorado River decrease for 8 years. The Mead Lake may also disappear before 2012 if an alternative cannot be found. We could think that this reserve is amply sufficient to supply the population of Las Vegas, but there are certain limitations which prevent thecity from drawing from this reservoir as much as she would like to. Indeed, the reservoir is also used to supply cities around in electricity. So, if the lake empties out too much, they are maybe rich in water but they become poor in electricity. Thus, authorities impose a limit of 0,37 cubic kilometer water supply per year, which is much less than the river rate of flow. Besides, they take intoaccount that Las Vegas is not the only city to draw its water in Colorado’s River. The rest of the water comes from the ground, but once again, there is a debate about that point between those who support that the aquifer of Las Vegas Valley contains thousands of cubic kilometers of water, and the others that are opposed to exploit water tables without any limitation. The solution to draw from...
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