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Las Vegas Problem Statement

Page history last edited by Logan Kendle 10 years, 5 months ago


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Satellite Images Las Vegas - ASTER

Figure 1. The red in this image represents vegetation mostly from golf courses in the Las Vegas Valley. The Las Vegas strip is only a very small amount of land compared to the entire city. (http://www.satimagingcorp.com/gallery/aster-las-vegas.html)

Problem Statement

     The fundamental water problem that is facing the city of Las Vegas is the consumptive use of water. It is growing at a rate that, if unchecked, will eventually result in an inability to supply citizens with water. Each year Las Vegas is allowed to draw 300,000 acre feet of water from Lake Mead. In addition to this allocation the city is permitted to withdraw as much water as they recycle and return the lake, providing an extra incentive for the city to recycle water. Due to a lack of alternative water supplies Las Vegas is almost entirely dependent on this allocation. Therefore the consumptive use of water each year must fall below the water allocated combined with the amount of water recycled. Unless alternate water supplies are added, the amount of available water can be represented by the following:


Available H2O = (Allotment + Supplements) – Consumptive Uses


     The consumption use of water in the region is directly related to the population of the region and the efficiency of water use per capita. As the population becomes more efficient the water use per capita decreases. If population increases, even if there is a decrease in water use per capita, total consumption can rise. This relationship can be represented by the equation:


Consumptive Use = (Water Use Per Capita)*(Population)


     It is important to remember that the water recycling rate is an important part of how Las Vegas supplied itself with water. It is also important to remember that Las Vegas is presently pursuing other water options such as drawing water from northern Nevada. This is taken into account by the following definition of supplements:


Supplements = (Recycled Water) + (Other Options)


     An integration of the previous equations yields the final expression of Las Vegas' available water.


Available H2O = [(Allotment form Lake Mead) + (Recycled Water)+(Other Options)] - (Water Use Per Capita * Population)


    Maximum Available Water Consumptive Use
Year Total available water (acre-feet) Allotment from Lake Mead Water Recycled Other Options Water use per capita (ac-ft/year) Population
2000 151789 300000 160000   0.224028774 1375765
2010 50942 300000 160000 39000 0.224028774 2000000
2020 -200424 300000 160000 161000 0.224028774 3666600
2030 -834916 300000 160000 211000 0.224028774 6721978
2040 -2089797 300000 160000 211000 0.224028774 12323402
2050 -4390368 300000 160000 211000 0.224028774 22592493

Table 1. This data was accumulated using a variety of assumptions: Population growth was assumed to be constant; other options are based on conservative speculation of groundwater use.


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