Document Type


Publication Date



This study is prompted by the expectation that water supplies for the Las Vegas Valley, both those used currently and those additional quantities available from existing sources, cannot sustain significant further economic growth of the region beyond the year 2006.

There are five parts to this study. Part I uses a regional econometric (REMI) model to project the growth of the Las Vegas region to natural maturity, essentially unconstrained by an overriding water shortage.

Part II is a reinforcing cross-section analysis of metropolitan areas in the United States to learn the most common natural growth patterns and those that have produced a good quality of life with a minimum of major local disturbances. This analysis gives attention to employment, population, income, and other key economic and social indicators. We give special attention to events in cities that are nearer to or at levels of maturity still many years away for Las Vegas.

Part III of this study looks at the performance of sectors of the Las Vegas economy between 1970 and 1989. In particular, we identify those sectors of the Las Vegas economy that are sensitive to variations in growth, particularly during the 1979 to 1983 recession period.

Part IV examines the impact of an unrelieved water shortage after 2006 on the Las Vegas socioeconomic future, giving special attention to the fraction of employment that depends on historically high growth rates to predict the impact of rapid decline of that employment. In Part IV, we employ the depth and power of the REMI model to portray the consequences for Las Vegas of a sharp drop in growth after 2006. In this part, we simulate a sixty percent reduction in construction employment, based on the experience of other cities investigated in Part II. We trace this disruption of growth through reduced employment, population, output, and income. We measure the effect of the water shortage by comparing the values of economic variables with a water shortage with a control forecast produced under the assumption of adequate water supplies. Part IV also includes a partial analysis of a Las Vegas water shortage on rural Nevada and on the state of Nevada as a whole.

Part V investigates the impact on rural areas of construction and operation of a system bringing water from outlying areas to the Las Vegas region. We are aware that final planning for such a system is not yet completed. We have used a reasonable set of expenditures, locations, and periods that can be expected to occur. These simulations provide a plausible estimate of the effects of both the construction and operation of a water-delivery system on employment and income in those rural areas. As more definite information emerges, appropriate changes can readily be made and new analysis of impacts can be quickly provided.


Nevada--Las Vegas Valley; Nevada--Las Vegas Valley Water District; Water-supply--planning


Environmental Monitoring | Sustainability | Water Resource Management