Bad Press from Environmentally Unfriendly Actions

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Vegas is desert country. Hot, dry and merciless. Yet amidst the harsh terrain are fountain shows, golf courses and lush gardens, which all appear to be hugely irresponsible water wasters. 

But according to the local newspaper, the attractions aren’t the problem.  The worst offenders are rich Las Vegas celebrities, who maintain green acres that should be barren.  

In this podcast, you’ll find out which Las Vegas celebrities waste the most water annually and why, at least at this point, there’s very little the state can do about it.  It’s a show about water usage in Las Vegas, who uses the most water per square foot and what Nevada State and Municipal Government are doing to promote water conservation.  

Our guets is Bob Conrad (@bobconrad), communications officer for the Nevada Department of Conservation of Natural Resources, which conserves, protects, manages, and enhances the state’s natural resources in order to provide the highest quality of life for Nevada’s citizens and visitors.

Bob is also the author of “The Good, the Bad, the Spin” about the news media, public relations practices and crisis communications. He maintains a blog by the same name.  

SHOW NOTES  

01:02 — Appropriating water rights in the state of Nevada and the factors on which determinations are made for water usage in Las Vegas.  

02:07 —  Water is not a finite resource. Groundwater in Nevada is recharged and replenished.  Jurisdiction over household water usage is governed at the municipal level, but they can and do issue citations for in appropriate water use.  

04:17 —  In Las Vegas, it’s not the fountain show at the Bellagio Hotel or the golf courses that use the most water. More than 50% of the water used in Las Vegas is used by households. Resorts use roughly 7% of the water and industrial entities use 13 to 14%. Also, most of the golf courses use treated effluence for irrigation, which is essentially decontaminated waste water.  

06:04 — Fight promoter Don King used and 385,000 per square foot, or more than 2,000,000 gallons at his 5,358 square foot property in 2008, according to Las Vegas Review Journal records [PDF].  

07:27 — Prince Jefri Bolkiah of Brunei used 17.3 million gallons, more than any other property owner in the Las Vegas, and Ebay founder Pierre Omidyar used 13.7 million gallons, making him the second biggest consumer of water, according to Nevada State records [PDF], presenting a significant challenge to Clark County and the Southern Nevada Water Authority.  

09:15 — “Not  a Drop in the Bucket,” an article by Henry Brean about water usage in Las Vegas which appeared in the Las Vegas Review Journal on March 22, 2009.  

10:36 — The third biggest consumer of water was Daniel Greenspun of the Greenspun Media Group, who used 8.7 million gallons of water at his 7-acre property in 2008.  

14:30 — Danny Gans, Fred Segal, Floyd Mayweather, Jack Galardi, Sheldon Aldelson, Celine Dion, Jerry Lewis and Garry Maddox are among the thirstiest celebrities in Las Vegas.  

17:02 — Dealing with the over usage of water by individuals with deep pockets is one the biggest challenges municipal authorities face because responsible use has not been defined.  The current economic environment, which is resulting is less tourism to Las Vegas and more residents leaving the state though, is having the biggest impact on water conservation.  

20:07 — What has hurt gaming revenue in Nevada the most is that gambling has opened up in other states, particularly Indian Gaming in California.  Reno has seen a huge hit to its gaming revenue, and the state is facing a budget crisis, primarily due to reduced casino and hospitality revenue.  

21:03 — Unemployment levels in Nevada are at the same rate as they were during the great Depression.  The upcoming January citizen legislature meeting may result in increased taxes and the reduced services.  

22:15 — Nevada is in a severe financial crisis that is among the worst in the nation.  The housing market was a big contributor, but the fact that Nevada has no state taxes puts it in a precarious predicament when tourism revenue dips, because there’s nothing for the state to fall back on.  

25:22 — Las Vegas hotel rooms and buffets used to cost almost nothing.  To what extent do the higher prices give the industry something to fall back on when casino revenue is down?  Do visitors need to gamble for hospitality concerns to make money?  

27:15 — End

Special thanks to Christel Hall (@christelhall) of ProWrite Public Relations for arranging this interview.

Photo by Brad Helmink on Unsplash

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