Saturday, June 13, 2015

The Sky Is Falling...Not?

Just about all the media has said that Las Vegas and other communities are using too much water and that Vegas and other communities and California will run out of water in the next few years. 
Well according to this article from the LVRJ, this is just a myth or Chicken Little saying the sky is falling.
From the LVRJ:
Forget everything you’ve heard about Southern Nevada’s water crisis.
That includes:
■ Lake Mead will go dry within a decade.
■ The Las Vegas Valley uses more Colorado River water than it has rights to.
■ Resorts and homebuilders are irresponsibly throwing up water-guzzling homes and hotels.
■ The city will run out of water completely and cease to exist in — fill in the blank — five, 10, 15, 30 years.
None of it is true.
Fact is, Nevada has enough water not only for today, but for tomorrow — even a tomorrow that includes hundreds of thousands of new Las Vegans and millions more tourists.
Some of you simply won’t want to hear this message. It defies a rarely questioned groupthink, with media outlets from the West Coast to Europe asserting that Las Vegas is on the brink of dust in the taps.
England’s Daily Mail reported in July that population growth in Las Vegas has “drained 4 trillion gallons of water” — about half of capacity — from Lake Mead, and the city’s “glittering nightlife is in danger of grinding to a halt.”
An environmental reporter with Slate said he spent “only a few minutes” looking at Lake Mead’s “white bathtub ring” in early 2014 before pronouncing Las Vegas a “patient on life support,” and asserting new-home subdivisions “simply should not be.”
USA Today in June 2014 listed Nevada among its “seven states running out of water.”
Even the Las Vegas Sun has an online clock breathlessly counting down the 2,058 days until “Las Vegas runs out of water” — a number the paper presumably took from a 2008 study, later revised, that gave Lake Mead 50-50 odds of drying out by 2021.
The coverage downplays or discounts measures that have kept Southern Nevada in water as the population doubled and Colorado River share went unchanged.
One example: The fact that the valley recycles all indoor wastewater is treated as suspect water-accounting sleight of hand, or ignored altogether.
To be frank, there’s no real defense for Las Vegas. The city shouldn’t be here, smack in the middle of a desert.
But if you gauge a place’s right to exist based on its effect on the Colorado River, then Nevada — at a tiny fraction of the effect of California and Arizona — has greater claim than anyone else. That means Phoenix and most of metro Los Angeles have less right to exist.
Local water officials are the first to acknowledge the Colorado River was divided up during an unusually wet period that’s not likely to happen again. But they also say they can adjust. They say Southern Nevada will have water — so much so that, with continued emphasis on conservation strategies started 15 years ago, thousands more homes can be built in Las Vegas with little additional effect on Lake Mead.
The water is there, so whether Las Vegas should expand is actually a philosophical question of what we and others want the city to be. It’s “should we grow?” rather than “we can’t grow.”
Population growth in the works
On the surface, it’s easy to understand water alarmism.
The footprint of the city is expanding even with potential water cuts coming.
Resorts World Las Vegas is underway with as many as 6,000 rooms. More than half a dozen master plans from Cadence in Henderson to Skye Canyon in the northwest have as many as 70,000 homes planned in the next 20 years. That would boost by 15 percent the number of single-family households, now at 470,000, that rely on lake water.
New locals and tourists are coming. Clark County will surge from 2.1 million to 2.7 million residents by 2035, and 3.2 million by 2050, according to UNLV’s Center for Business and Economic Research. Conservative estimates from research firm Applied Analysis show visitor volumes could jump to 51 million by 2050, up from 41 million now. An aggressive projection says 59 million.
Those forecasts come as Lake Mead, supplier of 90 percent of the valley’s water, slips into critical condition.
Fifteen years of drought have pushed the lake to 38 percent of capacity. The U.S. Bureau of Reclamation in May said it could declare a shortage as early as January 2017 to cut Nevada’s take.
Water scientists warn of additional shortages.
David Pierce, a climate researcher with the Scripps Institution of Oceanography in San Diego, said water in Lake Mead could drop another 10 percent midway through the century. Warmer temperatures will mean more evaporation of lake water, and smaller winter snowpacks will create less runoff to feed the reservoir.
Already, the Colorado River has experienced 12 below-average snowmelt years since 2000, and it is expected to see half of the normal amount in 2015. Lake Mead hit a record-low water level of 1,080 feet above sea level in April, and has dropped another 5 feet since....
Nat Hodgson, executive director of the Southern Nevada Home Builders Association, routinely hears from developers asking if the water situation is stable enough to build. If it’s not, they won’t take the risk, he said.
So far, they see little risk.
That’s because they can do math.
Reusing lake water
Local water agencies treat and return to the lake all indoor wastewater, for which they get return-flow credits. That practice essentially cancels out the effects of indoor use on the lake’s water level. Add all the new homes and resorts you want: Nearly all of their indoor water consumption will be returned to the lake and used again.
Just as important, homebuilders and the Southern Nevada Water Authority agreed in 2001 to strict standards for new homes.
Front-yard grass was banned. Turf out back was limited to 50 percent. Low-flow faucets and toilets were mandated or encouraged through rebates. Hodgson estimates homes built today use 70 percent less water inside and out than homes built before 2000.
Owners of existing homes get rebates for pool covers to prevent evaporation, and for new irrigation clocks and conversions of turf to desert-friendly landscaping.
About 70 percent of local water consumption goes to outdoor use, so the changes have made a big difference.
“Our community in the last 15 years has really begun to adopt a culture of living in the desert,” said John Entsminger, general manager of the Southern Nevada Water Authority
I have no doubt that there is more caterwauling from the Chicken Little types about Las Vegas running out of water is mostly false.
However, while the builders and others have said new housing will not effect the water level at Lake Mead, I am more afraid that the illegals that come to Las Vegas will be taken into account.
The reason why illegals will throw these plans into a flux is that illegals tend to live in homes with 10-20 illegals in one house.  When you read the media reports of fires in illegal country in Vegas, fires often displace 6-20 people in an apartment or house in which these houses have only 2-3 bedrooms.
So, while the builders may say that they are building houses without using anymore water, but with Las Vegas liberals inviting illegals into Vegas, that may change things.

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