Las Vegas is not even close to running out of water

Lake Mead bathtub ring 2010. (Credit:
Lake Mead bathtub ring 2010. (Credit:

Las Vegas recycles and reuses all indoor water, including what is flushed down toilets. All that water is purified, pumped into Lake Mead, and reused over and over again, making it a leader in reusing water.

Southern Nevada has 1.5 million acre feet of water stockpiled throughout the region, enough to last five years. A new intake line from Lake Mead will provide water even if the water level drops another 80 feet. A proposed pumping station will pump water to Vegas even if the level drop 180 feet more and is too low to release water downstream.

In addition, a new program, the Colorado River System Conservation Program, will pay big water users to cut back, further preserving water in Lake Mead.

Southern Nevada Water Authority head John Entsminger says the sky is not falling in at Vegas isn’t going to dry up and blow away.

Entsminger said the last time the lake hit a record low was in November 2010, and that was immediately followed by one of the wettest winters on record, enough to raise the surface of the nation’s largest man-made reservoir more than 30 feet.

Either way, he said, the valley will be ready. “We have a secure and sound water portfolio” for the next 50 years at least — one that will allow the community to grow responsibly while living within its comparatively small share of the Colorado River.

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