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http://www.telegraph.co.uk/news/worldne ... g-dry.html
Amid a brutal drought the reservoir that supplies 90 per cent of Las Vegasâ€™s water is fast disappearing and desperate attempts to save Sin City are under way
Outside Las Vegasâ€™s Bellagio hotel tourists gasp in amazement as fountains shoot 500ft into the air, performing a spectacular dance in time to the music of Frank Sinatra.
Gondolas ferry honeymooners around canals modelled on those of Venice, Roman-themed swimming pools stretch for acres, and thousands of sprinklers keep golf courses lush in the middle of the desert.
But, as with many things in Sin City, the apparently endless supply of water is an illusion. Americaâ€™s most decadent destination has been engaged in a potentially catastrophic gamble with nature and now, 14 years into a devastating drought, it is on the verge of losing it all.
â€œThe situation is as bad as you can imagine,â€ said Tim Barnett, a climate scientist at the Scripps Institution of Oceanography. â€œItâ€™s just going to be screwed. And relatively quickly. Unless it can find a way to get more water from somewhere Las Vegas is out of business. Yet theyâ€™re still building, which is stupid.â€
The crisis stems from the Las Vegasâ€™s complete reliance on Lake Mead, Americaâ€™s largest reservoir, which was created by the Hoover Dam in 1936 - after which it took six years to fill completely.
It is located 25 miles outside the city and supplies 90 per cent of its water. But over the last decade, as Las Vegasâ€™s population has grown by 400,000 to two million, Lake Mead has slowly been drained of four trillion gallons of water and is now well under half full. Mr Barnett predicts it may be a â€œdead poolâ€ that provides no water by about 2036.
The lake currently looks as if someone has removed a giant plug from it.
Around its edges a strip of bleached rock known locally as the â€œbath tub ringâ€ towers like the White Cliffs of Dover, showing where the water level used to be. Pyramid-shaped mountains rise from the shallow waters.
Tying up his 15ft boat at the waterâ€™s edge Tom Merrit, 51, who has fished on the lake for years, pointed to the top of a faraway hill and said: â€œMy boat used to be right up there. Weâ€™ve had to keep moving down and down as the water recedes.â€
â€œThat rock never used to be there,â€ he added, gesturing to a newly-emerging island several hundred feet long. â€œItâ€™s really sad because this used to be a great lake. But if they donâ€™t do something soon itâ€™ll be gone.â€
Lake Meadâ€™s water level is currently at 1,087ft above sea level. There are two pipes, known as â€œstrawsâ€, that take water from it to Las Vegas.
The first extracts water at an elevation of 1,050ft and is likely to be sucking at air, rather than water, soon. The second straw is at 1,000ft.
Lake Mead is expected to fall another 20ft towards that critical point by the end of this year.
Beneath the ground a mammoth effort is already under way to complete a new, lower straw which will be able to draw the last of the water from the lake.
But it is a painfully slow process as a giant drill the size of two football pitches advances at a rate of one inch per day.
That rescue project is costing $817 million and is currently expected to be complete by late 2015, but it is not viewed as a long-term solution.
Las Vegas also wants to build a separate $15.5 billion pipeline that would pump 27 billion gallons of groundwater a year from an aquifer 260 miles away in rural Nevada.
But a judge has refused permission after environmentalists sued on the basis that it would adversely affect 5,500 acres of meadows, 33 miles of trout streams, and 130,000 acres of habitat used by sage grouse, mule deer, elk and pronghorn, an antelope-like creature that is endangered in the region. The court heard that 25 species of Great Basin springsnails would be pushed toward extinction.
Rob Mrowka, a Las Vegas-based scientist at the Centre for Biological Diversity, which brought the legal case against the pipeline, said: â€œItâ€™s a really dumb-headed proposition. It would provide a false sense of security that thereâ€™s plenty of water and it would delay the inevitable decisions that have to be taken about water conservation and restricting growth.
â€œThe drought is like a slow spreading cancer across the desert. Itâ€™s not like a tornado or a tsunami, bang. The effects are playing out over decades. And as the water situation becomes more dire we are going to start having to talk about the removal of people (from Las Vegas).â€
Mr Mrowka cited Lake Las Vegas, a mega-resort where stars including Celine Dion live, as one of the â€œmost egregious examplesâ€ of wasting water.
He said: â€œItâ€™s a community for the rich and famous and it has a 320-acre lake filled with three billion gallons of water from Lake Mead. Thatâ€™s three billion gallons of drinking water, and each year they take millions more to keep it from stagnating and smelling.â€
Las Vegas gets just four inches of rain in a good year, and in the first four months of 2014 there was just 0.31 of an inch.
The Southern Nevada Water Authority, which has the task of keeping the city from running dry, has described the effects of the drought as â€œevery bit as serious as a Hurricane Katrina or a Superstorm Sandyâ€.
But spokesman JC Davis said water-hogging developments like Lake Las Vegas were â€œartifacts from an earlier time that wouldnâ€™t be allowed today.â€
He said: â€œThe days of having things like a shopping centre lined with grass are over.â€
Even environmentalists acknowledge that the glitzy hotels on the Las Vegas Strip have made big strides toward using water wisely.
The Strip now uses only seven per cent of the cityâ€™s water while accounting for 70 per cent of its economy.
All the water from sinks and showers in hotel rooms is recycled, and even water from some lavatories ends up treated and back in Lake Mead.
Some hotels automatically only wash bedroom linen once every two days, and restaurants have stopped serving glasses of water unless requested to do so.
Hoover Dam, a concrete arch-gravity dam in the Black Canyon of the Colorado River (AFP)
While it may look extravagant the Bellagio fountain does not in fact use water from Lake Mead, instead being filled from an underground lake on the hotelâ€™s land which is undrinkable anyway.
However, Las Vegas still uses 219 gallons of water per person per day, one of the highest figures in the US. In San Francisco the figure is just 49 gallons.
Most of that water is used to sprinkle golf courses, parks and lawns so the water authority has declared war on grass, paying homeowners to remove it from their gardens at the rate of $1.50 per square foot.
So far 165 million square feet of turf has been destroyed. Laid end to end in an 18-inch strip it would stretch 90 per cent of the way around the Earth.
â€œIâ€™ve lost count of how much grass Iâ€™ve ripped up,â€ said Matt Baroudi, 53, an award-winning British landscape designer who moved to Las Vegas 15 years ago and installs eco-friendly gardens and back yards.
â€œToday Iâ€™ve just taken out a lawn that will save 20,000 gallons of water a year. People are changing but I think ultimately they will have to made it illegal to sell grass seeds.
â€œI go boating on Lake Mead and Iâ€™ve watched it dry up. Itâ€™s just astonishing. You see a rock poking out and then three weeks later itâ€™s 15ft high. I donâ€™t know what they are going to do.â€
There is pressure on the neighbouring state of California to take pity on Las Vegas and give it water. But California is dealing with its own three-year drought, possibly its worst in half a millennium, which Governor Jerry Brown has described as â€œepochalâ€.
100 per cent of California is now classified as in â€œsevere droughtâ€ and rivers are so low 27 million young migrating salmon are having to be taken to the ocean in trucks.
Nevada and California are just two of seven states that rely for water on the 1,450-mile Colorado River, which rises in the Rocky Mountains and used to empty into the Gulf of California in Mexico - but which now rarely reaches the sea, running dry before that.
In 1922 seven US states - California, Nevada, Arizona, Wyoming, Utah, Colorado and New Mexico - first divided up how much river water each could use, and the amounts have been bitterly contested ever since, including by Mexico, which also takes water from it.
One proposal is for landlocked Nevada to pay billions of dollars to build solar-powered desalination plants in the Pacific off Mexico, taking Mexicoâ€™s share of Colorado River water in exchange.
But Mr Mrowka said: â€œThe Colorado is essentially a dying river. Ultimately, Las Vegas and our civilisation in the American South West is going to disappear, like the Indians did before us.â€
"The object of life is not to be on the side of the majority but to escape finding oneself in the ranks of the insane." Marcus Aurelius, Roman Emperor and stoic philosopher, 121-180 A.D.
Las Vegas is probably the best prime example of what is truly wrong with humanity. Eventually it is going to fold and probably soon, it's totally ecologically unsustainable.
Las Vegas should not be there and people flock to a mirage that cannot be sustained for any long period looking to get lucky and live happily ever after on a unsustainable pipe dream.
I believe Las Vegas has had about the most rapid growth of any city over the last 30 years? the human race is superficial and very short cited and Vegas proves it.
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There was a thread titled "Denmark ranked happiest country in the world" a little while back. Denmark has the highest municipal water rates in the world. Denmark receives about 28 inches of rainfall annually (vs the 4 in vegas that the article states).
Water prices in Vegas: "A family of four using 100 gallons per person each day will pay on average $32.93 a month in Las Vegas" (2010 price)
100 gallons x 4 people x 30 days = 12000 gallons a month
12000 gallons = 45.425 cubic meters (264.172 gallons/cubic meter)
$1.38 US per cubic meter
Denmark price: approx 6.70 euros ( $9.11 US ) per cubic meter. With absolutely no water shortage.
Denmark rainfall www.dmi.dk/en/klima/klimaet-frem-til-i- ... er-og-sol/
Vegas water rates http://www.circleofblue.org/waternews/2 ... -s-cities/
http://www.reviewjournal.com/news/las-v ... rough-2017
Denmark water rate http://blogs.denmark.dk/aleksandra/2012 ... llo-world/
That's why I posted what I posted on that thread. People need to realize most of the stuff you read in this socialist pipe dream is complete bull shit designed to promote a certain belief system of the socialist subjects. Holland and England are ground 0 where all this socialist lying crap can be traced to.
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