Urbanization and Water Conservation in Las Vegas Valley, Nevada

R.L. Morris
D.A. Devitt
A.M. Crites
G. Borden
L.N. Allen

ABSTRACT

    By the 2010 southern Nevada, which is one of the fastest-growing urban centers in the West, will have committed nearly 100% of its water resources.  Early in its history, Las Vegas developed a reputation for high per capita water use compared to other major cities in the arid West.   This arose from a belief by its residents that the valley was situated on an inexhaustible supply of water, enticements by the state to drill wells for urban development, the attraction of tourists, and a lack of enforcement of passed or existing laws.  The first water crisis in the 1940s was averted by allowing the principal aquifer to be overdrafted.  Overdrafting of the aquifer has led to geologic problems for the valley and its residents.  The second major water crisis was averted in the 1970s by the increasing availability of Colorado River water to area residents.   Metering, local ordinances, research, and educational programming are impacting water use by addressing the problems of overdrafting and conservation.

Article published in the
Journal of Water Resources Planning and Management Hydrology, Vol. 123, 189-196pp., 1996
for more information please contact Dr. Dale Devitt

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