Grants Pass, OR (PRWEB) August 25, 2015
The recent announcement by the US Bureau of Reclamation that the City of Las Vegas water allotment would not be cut until at least after 2017 (Ritter, 2015), came as good news and confirmed that the city’s water management policies are paying off. As a result, Las Vegas will not attempt to curtail growth and development. Fresh water advocate and radio host Sharon Kleyne praises Las Vegas for its water conservation and recycling programs but remains concerned that a deepening of the Western drought could undermine their efforts.
Kleyne recently discuss the Las Vegas Water supply, the Western drought and water recycling on her Sharon Kleyne Hour™ Power of Water® radio broadcast of August 24, 2015. For the live show or a podcast, go to http://www.SharonKleyneHour.com.
The syndicated broadcast, hosted by Kleyne, is heard weekly on VoiceAmerica and Apple iTunes. The education oriented show is sponsored by Bio-Logic Aqua® Research, founded by Kleyne and specializing in fresh water, the atmosphere, body surface evaporation and dehydration. The Research Center’s signature product is Nature’s Tears® EyeMist® for dry eyes.
While not an expert specifically on Las Vegas, Kleyne speaks with authority on water recycling programs in general. Las Vegas came to her attention as an example of a water district that, overall, does a commendable job of water resource management.
Las Vegas water, according to Kleyne, mostly begins and ends with Lake Mead, the immense reservoir 24 miles from the Las Vegas Strip on the Colorado River. The lake was created in the 1930’s by Hoover Dam and is the largest reservoir in the United States in maximum water storage capacity. While the maximum capacity is 26.1 million acre-feet, the reservoir currently contains only 9.7 million acre-feet which is 37 percent of capacity.
Lake Mead is 200 mile downstream from Lake Powell, behind Glen Canyon Dam. Lake Powell has the second largest maximum storage capacity at 24 million acre feet. Lake Powell currently contains 13 million acre feet or 54 percent of capacity, Kleyne notes. Lake Mead receives about 8 million acre feet of water per year from Lake Powell.
The annual Lake Mead water allotment for the City of Las Vegas, according to Kleyne, is 300,000 acre feet. This constitutes 90 percent of the Las Vegas water supply. The remaining 10 percent comes from groundwater pumping of deep water aquifers beneath the Las Vegas Basin. Although these aquifers contain large amounts of water, the area is entirely desert so the natural recharge rate is slow and the aquifer is easily drawn down.
Las Vegas boasts an exemplary water recycling program, according to Kleyne. Used indoor water (from houses, hotels, offices, etc) is recycled to near drinkable standards and either sold to large outdoor users (golf courses, parks, etc.) or returned to Lake Mead. Returned water is deducted from the annual allotment. As a result, the city currently uses only 225,000 acre feet of its assigned 300,000 acre feet per year.
Las Vegas has an active water conservation program. Green lawns are discouraged, tarping of swimming pools is encouraged and low flow toilets are becoming the norm. Through conservation, Las Vegas has slashed water use by 33 percent since 2000, despite a population increase from 1.6 to 2 million (Robison, 2015).
Kleyne would like to see all water management districts – not just Las Vegas - strive for 100% recycling. If Las Vegas removes 300,000 acre feet from Lake Mead, its goal should be to return 300,000 acre feet. With expanded recycling, and wastewater treatment to full drinkability, Kleyne believes that this goal could be approached. .
The ongoing Western drought eased somewhat in spring of 2015 and this is projected to continue through 2017. However, Kleyne warns, if Las Vegas continues to grow and the drought worsens, the city may be forced to revise its water management program. The good news, according to Kleyne, is that with 100% recycling, the Las Vegas water supply could be maintained indefinitely. ©2015 Bio-Logic Aqua® Research. All rights reserved.
Ritter, K, “Officials: Less chance of Colorado River water cuts in 2017,” AP via Yahoo News, August 17, 2015. http://news.yahoo.com/officials-less-chance-colorado-river-water-cuts-2017-225823008.html
Robison, J, “Water isn’t a worry when it comes to Las Vegas Growth,” Lad Vegas Journal, June 13, 2015. http://www.reviewjournal.com/news/water-environment/water-isn-t-worry-when-it-comes-las-vegas-growth
Downing, B, “Las Vegas modernizes water recycling efforts,” Water World, 2015