Is Las Vegas Running Out of Land?

Las Vegas is a city that has been growing rapidly in recent years, and with that growth comes the question of whether or not the city is running out of land. Mayor Lee has admitted that in the next 20 years, even North Las Vegas could run out of room to expand and begin to grow. Southern Nevada is running out of large tracts of land that could be converted into centers of job creation, according to local land development officials.

The hot climate and decreasing water levels in Lake Mead have many people wondering what the future holds for Las Vegas. Summers are getting hotter, and Lake Mead is getting lower. The Colorado River supplies water to Lake Mead, which is then sent through treatment facilities and into the Las Vegas Valley. Unfortunately, many residents can't afford to run their air conditioning due to rising energy bills and rents.

The ancient Patayan, as well as the modern Paiute, Washoe and Shoshone peoples of the north and south, have their ancestry in the ancient towns that were first attracted to the Las Vegas Valley by the miracle of water in the desert. Las Vegas is estimated to get up to 90 percent of its water from Lake Mead. The Bureau of Land Management (BLM) is working on a final RMP proposal by the end of September.

A new suburb is being considered for a location south of Las Vegas along the I-15 corridor. Decreased rainfall and drier conditions due to climate change, combined with a growing population, are putting pressure on water supply and security in Las Vegas. In 1962, after decades of pumping groundwater, Las Vegas Springs ran out and today 90% of the water that flows through the faucets in the valley comes from the Colorado River through Lake Mead.

Last year's Las Vegas city records show that a one-story project will cover more than 21,000 square feet and will be located on a 5-acre lot. Without it, Las Vegas and the Colorado River could have approached a “Zero-Day” situation as Lake Mead approached 1,000 feet above sea level.

The construction of new communities outside the Las Vegas Valley for wealthy people will only serve to widen the inequality gap in Clark County and the cities of Las Vegas, North Las Vegas and Henderson. This will divert resources from the urban core.

During the same summer, Clark County recorded 124 heat-related deaths. This shows just how important it is for Las Vegas to find ways to conserve water and energy in order to ensure its future sustainability.