Where do Las Vegas casinos go after they’re imploded? Several of them have found a second life as material for erosion-control structures that help shore up the banks of the Las Vegas Wash, a 12-mile natural channel that plays an important role in Southern Nevada’s watershed. The Southern Nevada Water Authority (SNWA) and the Las Vegas Wash Coordination Committee have worked for two decades to protect the Wash, which carries treated wastewater, storm water and urban runoff to Lake Mead, from which Southern Nevada draws its drinking water. Water Smarts host Bronson Mack and Crystal Zuelke share their favorite memories about Las Vegas hotels that have found a new purpose after their destruction. They’re joined by Keiba Crear, Manager of SNWA Environmental Monitoring and Management, who talks about the efforts to protect and restore the Las Vegas Wash and its surrounding wetlands.
According to Keiba Crear:
All of the water in Southern Nevada’s watershed flows down to the Las Vegas Wash. If you think about a bowl that’s tilted, the water from Las Vegas and surrounding areas all flows into the wash.
“There are over 200 million gallons of water a day that pass through that 12-mile channel, making its way to Las Vegas Bay and ultimately into Lake Mead. And we all know, Lake Mead is our primary drinking water supply.”
“But the one thing that’s a positive is that everything we’ve done over the past 20 years, these wetlands that have established out there are doing what they need to be doing. They’re acting like kidneys. They’re filtering and taking those contaminants out before it makes its way to our drinking water.”