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Las Vegas Water Tour

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During 2020 Responsible Travel Week we are strolling and soundwalking our journey to the waterways of Las Vegas. Look for major updates to this page and links mentioned below.

One of the most interesting case studies in water use, management, recreation and conservation … presenting headlines and resources for those interested in learning about water in Las Vegas and Southern Nevada.

Las Vegas Water Tour

Lake Mead National Recreation Area

Hoover Dam

Wetlands Park in Las Vegas

Las Vegas’ Springs Preserve

Tule Springs Fossil Beds National Monument

Cornerstone Park (Henderson, Nevada)

Las Vegas’ Old Fort State Historic Park

2020 Tweets

Las Vegas Isn’t the Water Spendthrift You Think It Is@AuthenticVegas
Bellagio Fountains Aren’t Sipping City Supply

Channel 8
The 8 News NOW I-Team worked on a television special titled “Crossfire: Water, Power, and Politics.” This was an in-depth examination of how Las Vegas growth is going to affect vast areas of the American Southwest. Rural Nevada is facing two dramatic challenges, both of which are directly related to our community’s relentless growth. This documentary was honored with the 2008 Peabody Award and NATAS Emmy Award for Documentaries. One proposal would siphon billions of gallons of water from environmentally-sensitive but politically weak rural counties. At the same time, plans are moving forward to build three, massive coal-fired power plants in the same areas. Most rural residents believe their land, their air and their way of life are threatened by both. Las Vegas leaders say the economy of the entire state could collapse if the plans are thwarted. No matter which side is right, our state will never be the same. Every resident, every business, whether urban or rural, has a direct stake in the outcome. The issues involved are the most important of our time; global warming, conservation, growth, sustainability, economic justice versus economic realities, how to plan for the future. The decisions made in the next few years will affect the lives of millions of people for the next century and beyond, so it’s important to get it right. The I-Team has been working on the story for more than five years. The program included interviews with all sides — elected officials in Las Vegas and the rural residents, environmentalists, scientists, ranchers, business owners, energy executives, water experts, Native Americans, proponents, opponents, and our political analyst Jon Ralston, who helped sort it all out.

Water Series

Recommended Listening
IndyMatters Episode 65: Whiskey is for drinking; water is for (not) fighting over


owater management

Southern Nevada Water Authority (SNWA)
Operating and Capital Budget 2018 (PDF)

Pool cover coupon

Southern Nevada Water Authority Major Construction and Capital Plan May 2015 (PDF)

Las Vegas Wash
The Las Vegas Wash is the final link in the Las Vegas Valley’s water supply, an “urban river” carrying more than 185 million gallons of water daily to Lake Mead.

Lower Las Vegas Wash Trail

Upper Las Vegas Wash Trail

Embedded Tweets

Water Pipeline Lawsuit

The Center for Biological Diversity presented oral arguments Monday in U.S. District Court in a case that could decide whether a massive water pipeline to Las Vegas can be built. The Center argued that the Southern Nevada Water Authority’s $15.5 billion groundwater development project violates federal environmental laws and would endanger wildlife, public lands and rural communities. The case is being heard together with a second lawsuit brought by White Pine County, the Great Basin Water Network, American Indian tribes and other groups.

The Center for Biological Diversity and others want the federal court to stop the Bureau of Land Management from approving local plans to build a 263-mile water pipeline to Las Vegas. Monday’s hearing involved several motions for summary judgments, including dismissal.

The $15.5 billion project would siphon more than 7.8 billion gallons of precious groundwater each year from public lands in the eastern Nevada desert, pumping it more than 250 miles south to metropolitan Las Vegas.

The proposed pipeline would traverse White Pine, Lincoln and Clark counties in east central Nevada. Each year it would pump and send 83,988 acre-feet of groundwater from the Spring, Delmar, Dry Lake and Cave valleys in east central Nevada to the Southern Nevada Water Authority’s facilities in Las Vegas.

An acre-foot is enough water to cover 1 acre 1 foot deep. City planners estimate that a typical suburban household uses one acre-foot of water a year.



“The Southern Nevada Water Authority, speaking for Las Vegas, thinks the solution lies beneath four valleys in Eastern Nevada, with a multibillion dollar pipeline that would pump valley water into Las Vegas. The plan sounds sensible to most business owners and developers in Las Vegas and surrounding Clark County, but Nevadans further east, particularly farmers and ranchers, fear the project would deplete already scarce resources, threatening their way of life.” – Jim Malewitz, More Water for Las Vegas Means More Resentment in Rural Areas

The Federal government has warned that water could run out for the city by 2025. More recently, researchers at the Scripps Institution of Oceanography said there was a 50 percent chance that Lake Mead, which supplies Vegas, Los Angeles and San Diego with water, could run dry by 2021.

Water isn’t a worry when it comes to Las Vegas growth@J_Robison1


Water Pipeline
Lake Mead sinks to a record low

Water Waste
Clark County ranks high on new ‘water hogs’ list

Invasive Species

Lake Las Vegas
Lake Las Vegas, long viewed as a bust, is rebounding

Water Wasters
Interactive Map of The Valley’s Top Water Users



Buzzword Bingo
Agua – Basin – Center for Biological Diversity – Drainage – Flash Flood – Flood – Flooding – Fountains – Golf – Groundwater – Hoover Dam – Lake Mead – Lake Sahara – Misting – Monsoon – Moratorium – Mormon Fort – Paiute – Dam – Pipeline – Pittman Wash – Rain – Rainfall – River – Southern Nevada Water Authority – Springs – Storm – Wash – WaterWeir – Wetlands – Wetlands Park


Turning the Tide: Water in the Desert

Las Vegas, Nevada

Clark County, Nevada




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