Officials: No slowdown in southern Nevada growth
April 22, 2003
A growth boom has pushed southern Nevada’s population to 1.5 million — and that figure could nearly double by 2020, state legislators were told Monday.
While one lawmaker said that growth may not be what many Las Vegas-area people want, local officials responded that the increase is coming — at an anticipated rate of more than 5,000 new residents a month.
During an Assembly Government Affairs meeting, Assemblywoman Peggy Pierce, D-Las Vegas, asked whether southern Nevada would “just continue running along like a train that has lost its brakes.”
Pierce added most of her constituents tell her they don’t want the sort of growth boom that Las Vegas saw during the 1990s.
Representatives of the Southern Nevada Regional Planning Coalition didn’t go along with the runaway train image, but acknowledged the growth has put big demands on water supplies and other government services.
Coalition members Kurt Fritsch, the North Las Vegas city manager, and Mary Kay Peck, Henderson’s community development director, both said the coalition is helping to deal with the various demands.
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Fritsch also said the region will have more than 2 million residents by 2020 — and he believes the total will be close to 3 million.
Pierce asked whether the idea is to let growth continue and meet demands by, for example, having water officials “grab a teaspoon here and a teaspoon there” to ensure there’s adequate water.
Fritsch said the water issue is difficult because Nevada is just one of several states that share Colorado River water. He also said conservation helps, but there’s “a reluctance” on the part of some to cut back on water use.
Pat Mulroy, general manager of the Southern Nevada Water Authority, and other SNWA representatives told the committee that efforts to lease and “bank” additional water resources will help to meet future water demands.
A consultant has been researching possible groundwater projects for the SNWA, and a final report is due in a month or so, legislators were told.
The water authority already has approved a drought plan that would restrict residential lawn sprinkling and impose surcharges on golf courses and casinos that don’t reduce water use.
On the Net:
Southern Nevada Water Authority: http://www.snwa.com/