If a business wants to move or expand to Las Vegas, it’s going to have to shell out information on its proposed water usage.
Greater Las Vegas officials want to help the regional economy grow, but they also want to protect water sources in the region. This includes a tool that outlines the water companies that want to move to the area will use with their operations, Insider reported.
Officials will rank incoming businesses by analyzing how it will benefit the region, versus the amount of water that it may use up, Insider reported. The Southern Nevada Water Authority first needs to examine how much consumptive water a new or expanding business would use. By “consumptive water,” it means the amount of water that the state won’t reclaim from the company’s operations. This includes water used in products that are sold.
That factor then determines if a business is recommended, not recommended, or falls between the two. Local and state officials then look at whether the business provides other social benefits, such as tax revenue and job creation opportunities for the area.
“The tool gives us the opportunity to talk with companies from a water perspective extremely early in the process,” Dave Johnson, the deputy general manager of the Southern Nevada Water Authority, told Insider about the business evaluations. “If their score isn’t the greatest, we can talk about project design.”
This comes as the Colorado River, which provides drinking water to seven states including Nevada, is seeing historic low water levels. From 2000 to 2021, the Colorado River Basin lost about 10 trillion gallons of water, according to data from a study released this August. This also comes as thousands of businesses have moved from California to Nevada in the last 30 years. More than 2,000 California companies moved from the Sunshine State to Las Vegas from 1990 to 2019, the Reno Gazette-Journal reported.
Despite judging and weighing which industries can expand in the Las Vegas metropolitan area by their water usage, officials are framing this as an opportunity for businesses to invest in water conservation methods.
This isn’t the first time authorities have pushed for stricter water use regulations in Las Vegas. Earlier this year, the state Assembly introduced a new bill that would allow the Southern Nevada Water Authority to limit how much water customers in the Las Vegas metropolitan area can use if the federal government deems the nearby Colorado River water levels too low. Last July, officials voted on a cap for the size of home swimming pools in Clark County, where Vegas is located. This mainly affected the city’s wealthiest residents.
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