The hopes of an El Nino-driven refill from last summer’s plunging levels of the nation’s largest reservoir have been dashed as AP reportsLake Mead water levels drop to new record lows (since it was filled in the 1930s) leaving Las Vegas facing existential threats unless something is done. Las Vegas and its 2 million residents and 40 million tourists a year get almost all their drinking water from the Lake and at levels below 1075ft, the Interior Department will be forced to declare a “shortage,” which will lead to significant cutbacks for Arizona and Nevada. As one water research scientist warned, “this problem is not going away and it is likely to get worse, perhaps far worse, as climate change unfolds.”
H/t reader squodgy:
“Las Vegas now cleans its waste water & efflent for re-cycling back into Lake Mead to get more allowances to meet growing demand for fresh water.
London UK has been doing that for decades. They used to say “every glass of water you drink has passed through ten people……hmmm.
Nevertheless, Las Vegas will run out of water in 2021, five years on.
I wonder if the slimeball who owns the casinos has better contingency plans?”
Will the threat of water shortages be enough to convince Vegas to stop gambling on overdevelopment?
When writing about how Las Vegas is taking a huge risk with its water supply, it’s impossible to avoid clichéd gambling metaphors. So I’m going to get them all out of my system right now.
Here goes: They’re doubling down when they should be holding. They’re putting all their chips on aqua and praying that their luck holds. They’ve had way too much to drink, and it’s clouding their ability to calculate the odds and make smart bets.
– EPA data shows radiation spike in major US city soon after explosions at nuclear waste facility nearby — AP: Drums of buried waste were blasted over site’s fence; Large crater reported — Emergency Official: US gov’t brought in “resources I’ve never even seen before, it was amazing” (VIDEO):
New York Times (AP), Oct 25, 2015 (emphasis added): Radioactive Dump That Burned in Nevada Had Past Troubles… State officials said this week they didn’t immediately know what blew up… A state fire inspector, Martin Azevedo, surveyed the site on Wednesday. His report, obtained Friday by The Associated Press, described moisture in the pit and “heavily corroded” 55-gallon drums in and around the 20-foot-by-30-foot crater. Debris from the blast spread 190 feet. Two drums were found outside the fence line… Nevada state emergency management chief Caleb Cage said operating records for the damaged trench… weren’t immediately available… [Former Nevada Governor Robert List] expressed doubt that anyone will ever know what’s really underground at the site. “Good luck with that,” he said. “What we found when we did our investigation was they had very, very skimpy records about what was there.” Continue reading »
– Why Has The Government Stopped Reporting Lake Mead Water Levels? (ZeroHedge, Aug 23, 2015):
For months we have been warning that “Vegas is screwed” as water levels continue to plunge in its most crucial reservoirs. Non-government experts are waving red flags that something must be done (and even NASA scientists fear the worst) while the government remains quiet. And then just 3 months ago, Lake Mead water levels mysteriously plunged to levels that were perilously close to emergency for Vegas water supply, then quickly reverted after the government confirmed that a malfunctioning indicator was at fault.
Now, we note, having given them time to ‘fix’ whatever problem there may be, Lake Mead water levels have not been reported since July 9th – six weeks??!!
As Jim R notes rather eloquently, Continue reading »
– Leaking Las Vegas (ZeroHedge, June 9, 2015):
What happens in Vegas, stays in Vegas… apart from the water. As the following interactive chart from ProPublica shows, water usage in the greater Las Vegas region has more than doubled in the last 40 years and with the drought conditions, every reservoir is near record lows. Welcome To Las Vegas (while water supplies last).
– Leaking Las Vegas: Forced Rationing Looms As Lake Mead Faces Federal “Water Emergency” ( WolfStreet, May 4, 2015):
Leak Mead – on your left, when you drive from Las Vegas across the Hoover Dam – is the largest reservoir in the country when at capacity. It’s fed by the Colorado River which provides water for agriculture, industry, and 40 million people in Nevada, Arizona, California, and Mexico, including Los Angeles, San Diego, Phoenix, and Las Vegas. Now after 15 years of drought, the “lake” – a mud puddle surrounded by a huge chalky bathtub ring – is threatening to run dry. Continue reading »
– Las Vegas Is More “Screwed”; Drought Drains Lake Mead To Lowest Since Hoover Dam Built (Zerohedge, July 10, 2014):
Two weeks ago we highlighted just how “screwed” Las Vegas is due to the catastrophic drought that is occurring (combined with almost total ignorance that this is a problem). As Bloomberg’s James Nash reports, about 55% of Nevada, already the nation’s driest state, is under “extreme’’ or “exceptional’’ drought conditions, the worst grades on the U.S. Drought Monitor; but recently the situation has got even worse. Lake Mead, the man-made reservoir that supplies 90 percent of the water for 2 million people in the Las Vegas area, has been reduced by drought to the lowest level since it was filled in 1937, according to the federal government who explained “It concerns us all very much,” as it is a resource used by 3 states. Simply put, The shortfall is endangering water supplies to the residents and 43 million annual visitors to the driest metropolitan area in the country.
We discussed in detail just how dire the water situation is in Las Vegas here, but as Bloomberg reports, things are deteriorating fast… Continue reading »
– Did Las Vegas Just Become China’s Billionaire New Money-Laundering Mecca? (ZeroHedge, July 2, 2014):
An odd thing has been happening in the last few months. Since the Chinese government began to crackdown on ‘junkets’ and ‘corruption’, Macau – the hub for Chinese billionaires to smuggle their money out of China – has seen revenues disappointing. So much in fact that, as Reuters reports, gambling revenue in Macau fell 3.7% in June on an annual basis, the first decline in more than four years. It could be coincidence, however, that as Macau has seen growth collapse, Las Vegas has seen Baccarat (the preferred game of China’s rich) surge. In May, as Macau growth slumped, Las Vegas Baccarat surged over 85%. While slots (the staple indicator of the 99% in America) continues to decline (-4.4% in May), it seems rich foreigners are finding creative new ways to wash their money out of China. Continue reading »
– Las Vegas Is “Screwed”; The Water Situation “Is As Bad As You Can Imagine” (ZeroHedge, June 30, 2014):
“It’s just going to be screwed. And relatively quickly,” warns Tim Barnett, of the Scripps Institution of Oceanography, telling The Telegraph, the situation in Las Vegas is “as bad as you can imagine”. After a devastating, 14-year drought drained the reservoir that supplies 90% of the city’s water, the apparently endless supply of water is an illusion as Las Vegas population has soared. As Barnett ominously concludes, “unless it can find a way to get more water from somewhere, Las Vegas is out of business. Yet they’re still building, which is stupid.”
– Las Vegas’ Oldest Casino Starts Accepting The World’s Newest Currency – Bitcoin (ZeroHedge, jan 21, 2014):
Two Las Vegas casinos will become the first known US gambling premises to accept the increasely popular cryptocurrency. The co-owned Golden Gate (Las Vegas’ oldest casino) and The D Las Vegas Casino Hotel will begin accepting bitcoins on Wednesday as payment for hotel rooms and related purchases, but, as Bloomberg Businessweek reports, state regulators are unlikely to allow casinos to exchange chips for bitcoins any time soon, according to A.G. Burnett, chairman of the Nevada Gaming Control Board.
The two downtown Vegas properties, which share an owner, will accept the currency at five locations, including their front desks and the D’s Gift Shop. Guests also can use the currency at the D Hotel’s American Coney Island hot dog shop and Joe Vicari’s Andiamo Italian Steakhouse.
– What Happens in Vegas, Doesn’t Stay in Vegas – New Street Lights Can Record Audio and Video (Liberty Blitzkrieg, Nov 12, 2013):
The Intellistreets system has finally come to the corridors of Las Vegas. So what is Intellistreets?
On its website, the system is described as “the only wireless information and control network for sustainability, security and entertainment.” Even more amusing, the company that owns the Intellistreets system is rather appropriately called Illuminating Concepts. The best part is that city officials claim “right now our intention is not to have any cameras or recording device.”
This is far from the first time we have learned about the installation of devices that can record audio and video being surreptitiously put in public places. I covered this late last year with regard to how the Department of Homeland Security was using grants to fund the placement of such devices on buses in my piece: Public Buses Adding Microphones to Record Passenger Conversations.
Now from CNET:
Las Vegas, you see, has invested in Intellistreets. These aren’t streets that carry you along, so that you don’t have to put one foot in front of the other.
– Heart Attack Grill spokesman dies from heart attack (Las Vegas Sun, Feb 11, 2013):
The second unofficial spokesman for the Heart Attack Grill in downtown Las Vegas has died from an apparent heart attack.
John Alleman suffered a heart attack last week as he waited at the bus stop in front of the restaurant, located inside the Neonopolis at Fremont Street and Las Vegas Boulevard.
Alleman was taken off life support shortly after 1 p.m. on Monday, said restaurant owner Jon Basso. He was 52.
“He lived a very full life,” said Basso, who seemed shaken when reached by phone Monday evening. “He will be missed.”
The Pennsylvania native is survived by his only family, his brother Paul. Basso said Alleman had a genetic predisposition for cardiac problems, as both of his parents died of heart attacks in their 50s.
Basso recalled Alleman as a fun-loving man who loved the Heart Attack Grill. The medically themed restaurant is famous for its high-fat menu that includes a record-breaking 9,982-calorie, 3-pound Quadruple Bypass Burger. The grill’s slogan is “Taste worth dying for.”
– 66% Of Las Vegas Mortgages Are Underwater, 27.7% Of Total US Housing Debt Has Negative And Near-Negative Equity (ZeroHedge, June 7, 2011):
Following yesterday’s news out of Zillow of a 0.77% drop in April home values compared to March, today we get an update from CoreLogic which in turn looks at the latest trends on “underwater” (or negative equity) mortgages in the US. In summary: “10.9 million, or 22.7 percent, of all residential properties with a mortgage were in negative equity at the end of the first quarter of 2011, down slightly from 11.1 million, or 23.1 percent, in the fourth quarter. An additional 2.4 million borrowers had less than five percent equity, referred to as near-negative equity, in the first quarter. Together, negative equity and near-negative equity mortgages accounted for 27.7 percent of all residential properties with a mortgage nationwide. In the fourth quarter, these two categories stood at 27.9 percent.” The most impacted state is Nevada, which has 62.6% of all mortgages underwater (with another 4.8% in near-negative), followed by Arizona, Florida and Michigan. California is fifth with 30.9% of all homes underwater. We doubt these millions of “homeowners” are benefiting much from the wealth effect.
A total of $69 million (£43 million) paid to welfare recipients in California was spent on holidays, including gambling trips to Las Vegas, jaunts to Hawaii and pleasure cruises.
The money, which is meant to be to help the poorest people in the state pay rent and feed their children, was found to have been used by them in restaurants, hotels and shops.
Those on welfare can spend their benefit money using “aid cards,” which can also be used in cash machines.
When records for the last three years were examined it was found that the cards had been used in 49 other states across the US.
The records were obtained from the state’s Department of Social Services by the Los Angeles Times newspaper.
They showed that $11.8 million (£7.4 million) had been spent in Las Vegas, Nevada, more than anywhere else outside California. That included purchases at the Venetian and Tropicana casino hotels.
Tens of thousands of dollars had been withdrawn using aid cards from a cash machine next to the upmarket Encore casino on the Las Vegas Strip.
Hundreds of thousands of dollars more were spent in Hawaii, including at Waikiki Beach, and on a Hawaiian island which is home to nothing but an expensive Four Seasons hotel.
When Kurt and Megan Kegler’s phone rang at their mobile home outside Detroit, the future looked grim.
When the mystery gambler was $35,000 up he quit the table, and handed the proceeds to the Keglers in a giant bag of hundred dollar chips .
Their three-year-old daughter, Madison, had been diagnosed with a brain tumour and they were $35,000 (£21,000) in debt.
But when they heard what the caller had to say, they broke down in tears, hardly able to believe their ears. He was a mysterious, high-rolling Las Vegas gambler who had been choosing needy families to give them his winnings. “You have been chosen,” the voice told the Keglers. “I’m flying you to Vegas, and I’m going to win your money for you.” What followed seemed like a dream. A stretch limousine to the airport, first-class flights and a Rolls Royce to their 8,000 square-foot suite in the Palazzo hotel. There, Mr Kegler, 48, and his wife, 29, were met by their benefactor, who promptly staked huge amounts of his own money in a marathon card session.
It wasn’t plain sailing on the blackjack table, despite his confidence: the Keglers saw him go down hundreds of thousands of dollars before he managed to hit a winning streak and recover.
When he was $35,000 up he quit the table, and handed the proceeds to the Keglers in a giant bag of hundred dollar chips. “It completely changed everything,” said Mrs Kegler.