Las Vegas water fight

CNN had an article about the plan by the Southern Nevada Water Authority (SNWA) to pump water some 200 miles from rural Nevada into the Las Vegas area. Unsurprisingly, the plan met some opposition from the residents of those very areas. After all, what is in it for them, besides losing their water?

Given the amount of water they need for the valley, the SNWA has received quite a bit of criticism about their lack of conservation efforts. For the most part the criticism is warranted to a small degree.  The water authority does roll out a water saving program in the summer, specifically when and how much you can water your yard. They will also pay you $2 per square foot of grass that is replaced with a xeriscape yard. To be eligible, you do have to jump through quite a few hoops and the program isn't publicized that much.

With the amount of money at stake, residents in rural Nevada will be fighting up an uphill battle. SNWA is also looking at desalination plants as well. The impact this has on the real estate market isn't clear. Most developers have been putting in desert landscaping for many years already and the number of green projects has been steady. A survey of any of the new developments under construction will show a cognizant effort for water conservation. I don't think the impending water shortage will affect much, except perhaps golf course construction. Golf courses use a lot more water than a housing tract or set of office buildings in the same area. If the water crunch continues, a home with a lake view or view of the fairway may appreciate a lot faster.  One thing is for certain, with over 40 million visitors a year, the water will be coming from someplace.

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