Las Vegas Sun

April 17, 2015

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Letter to the editor:

It’s the wrong time for water parks

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Are we all living with our heads in the sand? What part of “no water” don’t we get? Lake Mead’s level drops every day, and our city fathers are allowing new water parks to be built. We are running out of water, and that means no drinking water. Forget about water fountains, etc. We need water to drink, and if this insanity doesn’t stop, there won’t be any water.

What are the water officials thinking when they shrug off criticism about the water parks? Do they not look at the numbers and see our lake is dropping?

I have lived in this town 40 years and have seen Lake Mead’s floodgates open, but we have abused it so much the water level has dropped hundreds of feet.

When are people going to make a stand and say no more wasting water? Celebrities go to developing countries to teach them how to get fresh water; maybe it’s time for them to come to Las Vegas to teach our city fathers how to conserve the water in our precious Lake Mead.

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  1. Just the time Nevada legalizes pot, there won't be enough water in the desert to grow it.

    Carmine D

  2. "Are we all living with our heads in the sand?

    Not yet Jean but maybe sand will soon be the only place left for our heads. For now we'd best be better conservators of water and keep our heads out of all dark places.

  3. Ms. Isbell,

    With all due respect, your facts are incorrect, and as such, your point is moot.


  4. If the data are valid, then allocations from the Colorado River were made during a wet period. Those allocations are currently not sustainable and Nevada is on the short end of those. Taking water from the Snake and other aquifers to the north will trigger a contentious and protracted conflict with Utah. At some point the cost of acquiring sufficient water will exceed the ability to pay for that water. What then?

  5. Mr. Hayes,

    The "what then" is referred to as an ocean and desalination.


  6. Antigov,

    The answer to your question is yes. However, since facts are not important to most people's decision making process, I usually prefer snarky comments.

    In this case, I have a few for you to consider:

    Assuming the water park contains 25 million gallons to operate (high estimate) then it could be filled with the water that evaporates in about 45 minutes from Lake Mead in July.

    Moreover, more water evaporates from Lake Mead than is removed for use in the Las Vegas Valley.

    Hopefully, these facts will assist you in making your evaluation of water use.


  7. El Lobo,

    How do we get Pacific Ocean water to Las Vegas? The answer is we don't.

    In a cost sharing arrangement, Southern California desalinates and Nevada keeps their Lake Mead allocation. See how that works Lobo -- that simple thought just saved billions of dollars for pumping and transmission.


  8. The letter writer is correct it is the "wrong time for water parks."

    However its also the wrong time to be discussing it.The time to talk about water parks or golf courses (both use a lot of water) is before they are even on the drawing boards.

    Both water parks are slated for opening on or about Memorial day of this year.Its a little to late to reverse things now.Timing is always the key to prevention of most anything.

  9. @Purgatory is correct in that additional water is best obtained through transfer of rights as opposed to actual transfer of water. Shipping water in will be contentious and costly. Purchasing or bartering for allocated rights puts the free market in play and, potentially, leads to better solutions. The problem is that the Colorado Basin is currently oversubscribed, having its resources allocated in years of abundance. In years of drought all those allocations revert to "first in time, first in use". Las Vegas is a latecomer to the table and would likely have to pay dearly to purchase preferential allocations. Who pays and how much are questions of direct interest to residential, commercial and industrial customers. As far as water parks are concerned, they actually are quite efficient putting significant resources into recycling and reuse. By far the largest waste of water is in agriculture. Even though principles of drip irrigation are well known and practiced, many farmers continue to use irrigation canals and pivot sprinklers which are notoriously wasteful.

  10. What is wrong with this story? The whole water scare is politically driven. Why is it that Lake Powell remains full and the river below the dam is at 100 % . Las vegas only uses a fraction of what CA and AZ are allotted and then for some reason Mexico gets thier share which is 5 times what Vegas uses. So go tell those states to save water not us.

  11. While we struggle to conserve the water here, in California farmers are dumping it on fields using flood irrigation. A good portion of the land is used to grow hay for animals. Hay that can be grow elsewhere using less water but also with a smaller yield. They don't even bother with better irrigation methods because they have no reason to conserve and they need to flush out the massive amount of salt that is drying on their fields.

  12. Jean Isbell says: "Lake Mead's level drops every day"

    Not to let facts get in the way of your rant but would you care to supply us with those falling Lake Mead water levels?

    Here's a few data points to start with:

    Thu May 01, 2008: 1110.5
    Fri May 01, 2009: 1100.97
    Sat May 01, 2010: 1097.97
    Sun May 01, 2011: 1095.83
    Tue May 01, 2012: 1123.9
    Today: 1112.9

    Lake Mead's water level is basically unchanged from what it was 5 years ago.