Clark County population hits record as water concerns persist - FOX5 Vegas - KVVU

Clark County population hits record as water concerns persist

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This graph in the annual Las Vegas Perspective report shows the 2014 population levels in Clark County. (Aaron Barker/FOX5) This graph in the annual Las Vegas Perspective report shows the 2014 population levels in Clark County. (Aaron Barker/FOX5)
LAS VEGAS (FOX5) -

The population in Clark County hit the record-high 2 million mark last year, according to an annual report released Tuesday about the region's economy.

During the 35th annual Las Vegas Perspective, professionals from construction, finance and tourism gathered at the Four Seasons to hear the good news and the bad news about Sin City's economy.

According to the report, the population of Clark County grew to 2.1 million people in 2014 - up 2 percent from the previous year.

The boom in growth comes with its own challenges, said Jeremy Aguero, a principal analyst at Applied Analysis, which assembles the report.

"I think some of our weaknesses have got to be the fact that our education system is underperforming, which is making us less competitive in technology," Aguero said.

Aguero said there are also concerns about the water resources in the region.

"Lake Mead dropped to the 1,080 [feet] level - the lowest level it's been since 1937, when the lake was first created," Aguero said. "Those water resources are critically important to our vitality as a community."

In fact, federal water managers issued projections Tuesday that forecast Lake Mead dropping to levels in January 2017 that would require water supply cuts to Arizona and Nevada.

"At elevation 1,075, Southern Nevada will have to reduce the amount of water that it takes from Lake Mead from 300,000 acre-feet to 287,000 acre-feet," said Bronson Mack with the Southern Nevada Water Authority.

Mack said Southern Nevada is only currently using 225,000 acre-feet and that while the report is troubling, people shouldn't panic.

"We are about to complete the third intake out at Lake Mead, which will allow us to water from a much deeper part of the lake," Mack said. "In addition to that, we are preparing to build a low lake level pumping station that will allow us to continue accessing that water even if Lake Mead drops to what's called dead pool, and that's the point when no water can pass through Hoover Dam for downstream users."

Mack urged Southern Nevadans to continue water conservation efforts. Among his suggestions were switching from grass lawns to desert landscaping.

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