Southern Nevada water officials say Las Vegas uses only 80 percent of its Colorado River allotment and is banking the rest for the future. But critics argue that if Sin City taps all of its entitled water, it still wouldn't be enough to meet its long-term needs. The dwindling water resources of the Colorado River Basin are putting more pressure on Nevada and Las Vegas to become even more efficient with the water we use. Also, after a deep and prolonged recession, building is starting to rebound in Las Vegas.
Tim Barnett, a marine physicist at the University of California San Diego's Scripps Institution of Oceanography calls the building boom in the Southwest "foolish." He asks a simple question, "Where are all these new residents going to get their water?" In Las Vegas, Barnett warns that without massive cutbacks in water use, Lake Mead will be a "dead pool" by 2036.
Tim Barnett, a marine physicist at the University of California, San Diego's Scripps Institution of Oceanography