U.S. Water News Online
LAS VEGAS -- A severe drought has the Clark County School
District considering a plan to remove more than 2 million square feet
of existing turf, a move that would save an estimated 60 million
gallons of water a year.
With 289 schools and 189 acres of athletic fields, play areas and
landscaping, the sixth-largest school district in the nation is the
largest single water user in southern Nevada.
"We're just trying to stay ahead of the problem," said Paul
Gerner, associate superintendent of facilities.
In 2002, the district consumed more than 2.8 billion gallons of
water at a cost of $5.6 million.
Last year, the district removed almost 250,000 square feet of turf
and ornamental landscaping, or paved over grassy areas for parking.
New schools are being designed with water efficient landscaping in
mind, while older campuses are replacing grass with desert
landscaping or shrubbery, officials said. Watering has been cut back
to 80 percent.
One Las Vegas high school is making plans to become the first in
the district to install a football field of artificial turf.
In August, the district will add another 13 schools and about 308
The measures come with the water level at Lake Mead expected to
drop below 1,125 above sea level by year's end, its lowest point in
That will prompt the Southern Nevada Water Authority to declare a
drought emergency because no surplus water is available from the
Colorado River, which supplies the Las Vegas area with about 90
percent of its water.
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