Monday, June 30, 2014

UPDATED--"Las Vegas about to run out of water, go ‘out of business’"

Update, a couple prior posts on the subject:
August 2007
Clock is Ticking on Las Vegas' Water Supply and The Elvis Portfolio
So much for Viva Las Vegas.
February 2009 
Las Vegas Running Out of Water Means Dimming Los Angeles Lights
 The Las Vegas metro population is approximately two million.
Building cities in the desert is stupid.
The extent of the arid region is even larger than this map portrays (from DesertUSA):

Original post:
Yeah, that building-big-cities-in-the-desert thing might have some downside.
From News Australia:
The majestic fountains in front of the Bellagio hotel in Las Vegas.
The majestic fountains in front of the Bellagio hotel in Las Vegas. Source: Supplied
ONE of the most striking memories for anyone who has visited US sin city Las Vegas is of the fountains outside the Bellagio hotel, which shoot droplets hundreds of metres into the air. 
But this majestic image — and indeed the viability of the city itself — could be a thing of the past if an expert’s predictions turn out to be correct.

The Telegraph reports that desperate attempts to save the Nevada casino city are under way after a brutal, 14-year drought ravaged the reservoir that supplies 90 per cent of the city’s water.
Climate scientist Tim Barnett says the situation in the desert city is “as bad as you can imagine”.
“It’s just going to be screwed. And relatively quickly,” Mr Barnett, of the Scripps Institution of Oceanography, told The Telegraph .

“Unless it can find a way to get more water from somewhere, Las Vegas is out of business. Yet they’re still building, which is stupid.”
Are the sin city’s days numbered? … Las Vegas. Picture: Getty
Are the sin city’s days numbered? … Las Vegas. Picture: Getty Source: Supplied
The decadent destination relies completely on a lake created by the Hoover Dam, which was considered a major engineering feat when completed in 1936.

Vegas’s population, which has grown from 400,000 to 2 million, has slowly drained 4 trillion gallons from the lake, and it now sits well below half-full.

The city receives only about 100mm of rain per year, and Mr Barnett said the lake would provide no water by 2036 if nothing was done to alleviate the crisis.

Engineers are now building a new, lower pipe that will allow water to continue to flow to the city as the water level continues to drop.

The $817 million rescue mission is expected to be finished by the end of next year, but is only a Band-Aid solution.
The engineering feat that is the Hoover Dam.
The engineering feat that is the Hoover Dam. Source: News Limited
An alternative plan, to build a new pipelines to pump water from an aquifer the rural Nevada, was scuttled by environmentalists, who said it would ruin meadows and animal habitats.

Vegas-based scientist Rob Mrowka told The Telegraph that the city was wasting water, citing the mega resort Lake Las Vegas, where Celine Dion performs, as one of the “most egregious examples”.

“As the water situation becomes more dire, we are going to start having to talk about the removal of people (from Las Vegas),” Mr Mrowka said....MORE