LAS VEGASExplosive population growth in southern Nevada has placed increasing demands on available water resources. In 2007, 80% of the state's residents lived in southern Nevada, where the population approached two million people. The dual concerns of this population boom and a climate that features frequent severe drought conditions has created an urgent demand for officials to investigate alternative water resources to meet resident and visitor demand.
Las Vegas operates on a "Return Flow Credit" program for reuse water returned to Lake Mead after being treated. The cities of Henderson and Las Vegas, along with the Clark County Sanitation District, release a portion of the treated wastewater to be utilized for irrigation. The remainder of the treated wastewater is returned to the Colorado River system through the Las Vegas Wash. Utilizing "treated sewage effluent", or "reuse water", for landscape irrigation is an environmentally acceptable alternative to the current system of discharging waste water into rivers and lakes.
The use of reuse water in the Las Vegas Valley is expanding through the use of satellite treatment plants into areas in the north and southwest parts of the valley, reducing the need to expand both the water delivery and sewage discharge systems. Clearly, as the practice of using lower-quality water for irrigation expands, there is an increased emphasis on the use of valid, science-based management practices.
Successful development of a program for reuse water use in southern Nevada has evolved in close collaboration with the area's golf course industry. Southern Nevada is home to 53 golf courses, many of them high-end, premiere courses. The area is one of the United States' fastest growing golf destinations, with revenue from the golf industry representing a significant part of Las Vegas' tourism-driven economy.
Naturally, the use of reuse water has limitations due to the quality of the water. Golf cours
|Contact: Michael W. Neff|
American Society for Horticultural Science