Till The Well Runs Dry

Hooked on growth and the splash of fountains, Las Vegas plots a water grab from rural Nevada and neighboring states

In Las Vegas the only sound that rivals the clink of coins is the rush of water. At the Mirage, a flashy hotel complex on the Strip, a cascading 39-ft.- high waterfall gushes 135 gal. per min. Fountains adorn the entranceways to banks, hotels and condominiums. Development communities market "waterfront living" on artificial lakes that sit like giant puddles in the middle of the Mojave. Even the names -- Montego Bay, Shoreline Estates, The Lakes -- reinforce the illusion that water flows abundantly in this desert oasis.

That image has fueled growth and filled the coffers of the world's most famous...

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