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Keywords

Air—Pollution; Health; Ozone; Pollution; Public health; Sustainable development; Water; Water quality; Water-supply

Abstract

There are a multitude of environmental factors that influence public health. The purpose of this manuscript is to evaluate the Southern Nevada community with respect to environmental conditions and health, including both positive and negative traits, and develop realistic goals and strategies aimed at improving these conditions. Southern Nevada is located in one of the most arid regions of North America. Since annual rainfall averages less than four inches per year, Southern Nevada depends upon the Colorado River for its water supply. It is predicted that water flow to the area will decrease by 5% to 20% by 2050. As a result, efforts to reduce consumptive water use (use of water that is permanently withdrawn and not returned to the source) were employed and have been effective at reducing consumptive water use by 21 billion gallons annually. Access to quality water is a fundamental determinant of health, and the water quality of Southern Nevada continues to meet safe drinking water standards set by the EPA. Air quality is another important determinant of population health and sustainability. Between 2009 and 2011, the region had 36 days in which the ozone levels were considered dangerous and 2 days in which the particulate pollution (PM 2.5) were considered dangerous. The six Criteria Air Pollutants defined in the Clean Air Act, have declined consistently in the region since the mid 1990’s. Due to the increase in population and changing landscape, parts of Southern Nevada are considered urban heat islands, or urban areas with higher temperatures than rural areas. On average, the regions temperature has risen four degrees Fahrenheit in four decades. Based on the existing conditions, a number of goals and strategies aimed at promoting environmental health and sustainability were developed as part of the Southern Nevada Regional Plan for Sustainable Development (SNvRPSD); a single, integrated and consolidated plan that will promote and guide sustainable regional development in Southern Nevada over the next 20 years.


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