The race to stop Las Vegas from running dry
Amid a brutal drought the reservoir that supplies 90 per cent of Las Vegas’s water is fast disappearing and desperate attempts to save Sin City are under way
Lake Mead: boaters seen in front of a white
Lake Mead: boaters seen in front of a white “bathtub ring” on the rocks on the upstream side of the Hoover Dam Photo: Getty
By Nick Allen, Las Vegas4:11PM BST 28 Jun 2014
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Outside Las Vegas’s Bellagio hotel tourists gasp in amazement as fountains shoot 500ft into the air, performing a spectacular dance in time to the music of Frank Sinatra.
Gondolas ferry honeymooners around canals modelled on those of Venice, Roman-themed swimming pools stretch for acres, and thousands of sprinklers keep golf courses lush in the middle of the desert.
But, 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.
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I remember visiting Lake Mead when the “bath tub ring” was first appearing.
I say to my bride: “There is what happens when no one person owns the water. A private business would raise the prices to equilibrium. Selling exactly as much water — or pretty close to exactly — as is replenished. And cheap people would conserve.”
So true then. So true now.
The “tragedy of the commons” demonstrated.
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