Las Vegas Is “Screwed”; The Water Situation “Is As Bad As You Can Imagine”

Zero Hedge – by Tyler Durden

“It’s just going to be screwed. And relatively quickly,” warns Tim Barnett, of the Scripps Institution of Oceanography, telling The Telegraph, the situation in Las Vegas is “as bad as you can imagine”. After a devastating, 14-year drought drained the reservoir that supplies 90% of the city’s water, the apparently endless supply of water is an illusion as Las Vegas population has soared. As Barnett ominously concludes, “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.”  

As The Telegraph reports, as with many things in Sin City, the apparently endless supply of water is an illusion.

America’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.

“The situation is as bad as you can imagine,” said Tim Barnett, a climate scientist at the Scripps Institution of Oceanography. “It’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 they’re still building, which is stupid.”

Things are not good…

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 “every bit as serious as a Hurricane Katrina or a Superstorm Sandy”.

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.

But they have a plan…

Lake Mead’s water level is currently at 1,087ft above sea level. There are two pipes, known as “straws”, 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.

But in the end, it’s a fals promise…

“It’s a really dumb-headed proposition. It would provide a false sense of security that there’s plenty of water and it would delay the inevitable decisions that have to be taken about water conservation and restricting growth.

The drought is like a slow spreading cancer across the desert. It’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).”

Mr Mrowka cited Lake Las Vegas, a mega-resort where stars including Celine Dion live, as one of the “most egregious examples” of wasting water.

And then there’s this…

One proposal is for landlocked Nevada to pay billions of dollars to build solar-powered desalination plants in the Pacific off Mexico, taking Mexico’s share of Colorado River water in exchange.

But Mr Mrowka said: “The 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.”

*  *  *
The bottom line – get there now, watch the fountains, drink the water, swim in the lake… (and sell your house)

11 thoughts on “Las Vegas Is “Screwed”; The Water Situation “Is As Bad As You Can Imagine”

  1. Can’t say I feel sorry for them…. People of Las Vegas use over times the amount of water a day than people in San Francisco. It must be from all the rubbing up against Harry Reid that they have to take so many showers daily. Those people voted for Dingy Harry… Let them all dry up and blow away!

    1. No, it means people are going to stink to high heaven in Vegas once the mandatory water rationing begins. Let’s see, once the water is no longer able to turn the turbines in the Hoover Dam, does that mean Vegas is without lights and air conditioning? Funny how things work out. First, we abandon Newark, then Detroit, and now Vegas. It means nothing to the money players and fast women, they’ll just set up shop elsewhere.

      1. Looks like another “humanitarian crisis” setup to get us to cry to the UN.

        Not gonna happen on my watch. We allowed this treasonous government to do this to us in the first place, so it is WE THE PEOPLE’s problem and NOT the UN’s and therefore it is OUR responsibility to make sure that we fix the problem and get rid of our government!

  2. This actuality started back in 1985 when I moved here. The lake at that time was so full they thought it was going to flow over the top of the dam. It was decided to lower the lake level so this wouldn’t happen again. However the drought started slowly and has progressed to where it is today.
    There are a lot of us that didn’t vote for dirty harry and could care less if he fell in the Grand Canyon never to be heard from again. We have the only county(so I’m told) in the US that has no building codes, permits, inspectors or any of the normal government BS and I’m about to get some property there to retire on in a couple years. I guarantee you that the people of that county will not allow Harry to give anything of theirs away.

  3. Well I hope they don’t come to CA looking for water. Our reservoirs are drying up too and we are already on mandatory water rationing.

    I hear we are facing an unusually large El Nino this year. Put your prayers in early.
    . . .

  4. So I guess this means that the West is drying out and with the Pacific Ocean all radiated, the Great Lakes going to China, the Gulf of Mexico filled with oil, the Mississippi River probably taking in oil, and the Red River being manipulated by the BLM, that pretty much leaves the Atlantic Ocean and possibly Lake Tahoe left for us Americans. How thoughtful.

  5. In N Nevada we were allowed a few mins of rain yesterday!

    Near all the libs of Nevada live in Las Vegas, let them move to a more lib state, FK ’em.

  6. My buddy who worked for the feds on the damn said to me back in 2004 that they where ordered to remove 80′ of the lakes depth because of anti terrorism orders from the DOI and DHS.

    It was a week or two later when the papers made a big deal about the level change and used it to “prove” global warming.

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