During the boom Las Vegas's appetite for water far outstripped its natural supply and the Southern Nevada Water Authority rose to the challenge, enforcing water reuse and buying rights to secure supply. The difficulty is that water infrastructure has to be planned for decades into the future, whereas the economy moves on a quarter by quarter basis. How has the SNWA coped with the economic downturn, and what are the lessons for other water agencies which need to plan for long term growth, but find the short term experience is the reverse?
Patricia Mulroy oversees the operations of the Southern Nevada Water Authority and the Las Vegas Valley Water District. The Water Authority is responsible for acquiring, treating and delivering water to local agencies that collectively serve 2 million residents and nearly 40 million annual visitors.
Facilities for the collection, treatment, storage, and distribution of water. Ancient systems included wells, storage reservoirs, canals and aqueducts, and water-distribution systems. Highly advanced systems appeared c. 2500 BC and reached their peak in the Roman aqueduct system. In the Middle Ages, water supplies were largely neglected and epidemics caused by waterborne organisms were common. In the 17th18th century, distribution systems utilizing cast-iron pipes, aqueducts, and pumps began to be installed. The link between polluted water and disease came to be understood in the 19th century, and treatment methods such as slow sand filtration and disinfection with chlorine were introduced. Modern reservoirs are formed usually by constructing dams near the collection point of mountain-water runoff or across rivers. After the water reaches collection points, it is treated to improve its quality; it is then pumped either directly into a city or town's distribution system or to an elevated storage location, such as a water tank. See alsoplumbing.