Southern Nevada’s dire water outlook at center of economic meeting this week

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This week, Southern Nevada business leaders will be doing what they’ve been doing once a year for over 40 years. They will meet and listen to experts who will try to look ahead to see where the economy is going.

This year, probably more than most years, they will be talking about an economic factor that few of them have any control over: water.

Water, or its dwindling supply as Lake Mead continues to shrink in this record-breaking drought, is a major concern for Nevada’s livelihoods, as well as six other states – some 40 million people – who depend on this water.

The event is called Perspective. It is owned by the Las Vegas Global Economic Alliance.

Tina Quigley, the group’s president and chief executive, said the annual event looks at what we can expect and what we’ve seen in terms of economic trends.

“This year we also wanted to focus on certain aspects of the economic sustainability of our region and sustainability, in this case, means that we look at these resources. We are going to have to be sustainable for the long term,” she said.

Beyond water, they will discuss workforce development statewide. Quigley said the focus is on looking at developing industries, those looking to relocate to southern Nevada, at a granular level of focus.

This means considering things like tax incentives, water use and land area.

She noted that due to early efforts by the Southern Nevada Water Authority, Las Vegas is much safer for water than other areas that rely on the Colorado River.

LVGEA’s role, she said, “is to be able to stay connected to the Southern Nevada Water Authority, to stay connected to cities and towns, as well as to the [Las Vegas Chamber of Commerce] and come to this collaborative understanding of the problem. … The only thing we can move forward is conservation.

While there are environmental limits to Southern Nevada’s future, stopping growth isn’t an option, according to Quigley.

“Either you slowly but surely increase your prosperity, or you slowly but surely decline. Not having growth is not an option,” she said.

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