First assignment of group n° 081


Resources used by the team


Book : Las Vegas: La pépite du désert / Sébastien Frémont


Book : Géopolitique de l'eau dans la région de Las Vegas / Anthony Jaumard Verlaine


Book : La gestion durable de l'eau / Bernard de Gouvello

Estelle RENOUX

Book : Les géographies de l'eau: Processus, dynamique et gestion de l'hydrosystème / Richard Laganier


Book : Les nouveaux enjeux de l'eau: quelle gestion durable d'une ressource rare ? / Bruno Sido


Book : Desertification, land degradation and sustainaility - Anton imeson

Othmane BELHAJ

Book : Deserts d’Altitude - sarah marquis

Las Vegas Water Problem

First description of our project

First description of our project's idea
Find a way to prevent water exhaustion in overdeveloped cities where there is not direct access to water.

Title of your project
Lack of water's resources in urban spaces

''1. What Problem do you want to solve ?''
Las Vegas is a city located in the Mojave Desert, a rain shadow, which is a dry area located in the lee side of a Mountain. Then, Las Vegas is a relatively new attractive city which is developing really fast thanks to its popularity in the world for casinos and luxuries hotels. In fact the population has been multiplied by four between 1980 and 2010. While the city is growing really fast, the clear water reserve available remain the same. So, the main problem here is that the needs of the city are too deep if we compare to the water reserve and it will of course have huge consequences on the water stocks and particularly on the main water supplier, Lake Mead. To solve this problem, the city has implemented new policies to decrease the water consumption of the resident, because if we compare with Paris for example, the consumption of water for each resident is fourth times more important in Las Vegas. Then, the city has decided to invest in a new pipeline of 500 kilometers that will carry water from sources in the Mountain. But this solution is obviously not sustainable because it delays the problem and will import a new problem downstream these sources. According to that statement, we want to find a way to prevent water exhaustion in overdeveloped cities where there is not direct access to water.

''2. Why does this problem exist?''

The water exhaustion in overdeveloped cities is due to several reasons. Each city has is specific geographical and economical situation. For instance in Las Vegas the problem is due to: - Las Vegas is located in the driest state of the United States, in the Mojave Desert. - Water consumption in Las Vegas is twice the average water consumption of the United States: 1000 liters per day. This overconsumption is mainly due to the gardens, parks and the 50 golf courses in the city. - The demographic explosion in the city and the number of tourists increasing every year will not improve the situation. - Today the first water resource is the lake Mead: the biggest reservoir of the United-States. But Vegas is not the only one to collect its water in this lake, there are 7 States which use it. And for 2 years it has already halved. - The city now wants to operate a new solution: collect water in the valleys of eastern Nevada. The Las Vegas authorities plan to build a gigantic aqueduct to capture water from these valleys. But this operation would have catastrophic effects on biodiversity of this region. So there are also social strakes with the inhabitants of this region.

In all cities concern by our problem the main reason is a constantly increasing of population but the water resource doesn’t followed this growth. So at one time there will be a total exhaustion of water resources if we don’t find concrete and sustainable solutions.

So according to this phenomenon, Las Vegas and other big cities with the same problem have to ask themselves several questions - In what kind of new resources Las Vegas will collect its water after the total exhaustion of the lac Mead? - How to find a solution that will have non-reversible effect on the environment? - If they find an other resource, will it not just grow back the problem in time: until the exhaustion of the resource? - How reduce its water consumption? Will it not impact its tourism attraction?

''3. What breakthrough are you commited to creating?''

To remind our issue and tackle the subject of solution, we acknowledge three main reasons why some area lack of water : - their non direct access to water - their location (in desert, in contaminated areas) - their soaring increase of population which consume to fast their resources in water Regarding our chosen issue, we are committed to solve it by acting on two different axes of solution. 1/ Find a different way to collect water If there is no natural source of water in the area (a lake or a river), why don’t we find a different way to have it? Indeed, Las Vegas copes with water issue by drawing water in Lake Mead. When there is no more water in, Las Vegas draws the water in a neighbour lake. It repels the issue. But if we find an another to collect water, may be by extracting the water in a resource that everybody has (air, humidity, wind), or by treating used or contaminated water to reuse it; it can be a relevant solution. 2/ Find a different way to consume water If habitants consume too much water, why don’t we find a system to automatically consume less? For example, a Silicon Valley start up (Nebia) create a special shower head to drastically reduce the consumption of water. If a large part of habitant use this technology, it will be able to reduce water waste. Now, we give you some axes of solution, we call for experts, engineers, or may be ingenious person to solve this global issue !

Potential experts already identified

Bernard DE GOUVELLO Research engineer at the Centre Scientifique et Technique du Bâtiment Teacher "Sustainable management of water in the building" It is on different projects with project recovery facilities and rainwater use throughout the Ile de France (SR-Util project) Mail :

Anthony JAUMARD VERLAINE teacher at science po international relationship/ Water Consultant He worked at "pan tech water & petrol" in the Company specializes in water treatment and oil in favor of sustainable development. Mail :

Alain MAILHOT, Urban hydrology researcher Member of the Board of Directors of the Canadian Association of Hydric Resource (CWRA) Mail:

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