Southern Nevada Water Authority, or SNWA, has a massive job on its hands. Years ago when Las Vegas was still a miniature from what it is today the Authority's task was simple. Snowmelt from the Rockies steadily supplied water to Lake Mead and that was plenty to keep the valley moving right along. In the last decade or two the city has grown by leaps and bounds and with that phenomenal expansion water has become a major issue.
Lately SNWA has been introducing a variety of different programs to encourage conservation and one of them is the Landscape Awards competition. Its aim is to raise awareness in the community of water-smart yard designs, basically referring to desert landscaping, and the effort is drawing more and more support each year. This time in the Single-family Residential Landscape Design by a Professional grouping Doug Pool's home in Summerlin took in the top award, aided by Schilling Horticulture Group. Pool's objective was to use only native Mojave Desert plants in his front yard and the result was so impressive that it won.
Water Smart Landscape Rebate program is also making waves in the valley. It urges homeowners to convert their existing grass yards into desert landscaping and since it was initiated in 1999 almos 13 million square feet of turf in Summerlin alone has been scraped up and replaced with desert materials and plants. Summerlin is in the forefront of another trend, too, namely that since 2003 it was the first master-planned community in Southern Nevada requiring the observance of water conservation directives for all new homes built there.
These are important steps for the area. Certainly more needs to be done in the future as the city's needs grow. Right now, though, the prevailing mortgage, real estate and employment turmoil is hurting many in the pocketbook and probably slowing down homeowners' enthusiasm to spend money on anything extra, like installing desert landscaping. But the desire to help out will return.