The size of new Las Vegas residential swimming pools will soon be restricted to 600 square feet of surface area. But the county rule change will not interfere with the vast outdoor pool complexes that have helped redefine Sin City as much more than simply a gambling hub.
The Strip’s pool complexes are iconic. The outdoor facilities are used for both rest and relaxation, as well as marquee parties fully equipped with cabana service, DJs, and pools packed with frolickers letting loose.
The historic drought facing Nevada has prompted new water conservation efforts, as the Lake Mead reservoir sourced by the Colorado River continues to be depleted. Clark County commissioners this week unanimously passed a rule change that, effective September 1, 2022, will limit the size of new residential pools to about the size of a three-car garage.
The ordinance, however, has no impact on current casino pools or future ones. The approximately 3,000 glimmering commercial pools in Southern Nevada, which accompany casino resorts, hotels, motels, and housing communities, will not be affected by the Clark County ruling.
Water Savings Minimal
Clark County signed off on the residential pool rule change on advice from the Southern Nevada Water Authority. The residential swimming pool limitation is designed to limit water waste and is thought to be the first in the nation.
Outdoor pools, currently subjected to daily temperatures in excess of 100 degrees Fahrenheit, lose about 23,000 gallons of water annually because of evaporation. The Southern Nevada Water Authority says limiting the size of future outdoor home pools will save 3.2 million gallons of water in the first year alone.
But that’s just a tiny fraction of the nearly 91 billion gallons the region draws from the lake each year. Dustin Watters, whose family business Watters Aquatech has been installing residential pools for almost 40 years, says his company will suffer.
It’s easy to show pictures of lavish swimming pools and say, ‘That’s the problem,’” Watters told the Associated Press.
Kevin Kraft, another small business owner engaged in residential pools, agrees that lap pools and other customized swimming pools are not to blame.
“The tone we got was that rich people shouldn’t be able to have big pools,” Kraft opined. “All this work that people do on these big custom homes is usually around the pool. The pool is a big part of the design.”
Clark County commissioners, however, said water savings of any amount is a worthy endeavor. Southern Nevada Water Authority General Manager John Entsminger added that water scarcity could become a natural disaster for Nevada.
“Nobody questions building codes to survive hurricanes in South Florida. Nobody questions building codes for earthquakes in San Francisco. Water scarcity is our natural disaster in Southern Nevada,” Entsminger said.
One of Las Vegas’ most iconic and photographed outdoor pools is the Mandalay Beach at Mandalay Bay. The Strip casino features an 11-acre outdoor playground highlighted by its 1.6-million-gallon wave pool.
Mandalay Bay offers two additional outdoor pool attractions — the adults-only Moorea Beach Club and Daylight Beach Club.
Other Instagram-worthy Las Vegas Strip casino pool complexes include the 4.5-acre Garden of the Gods Pool Oasis at Caesars Palace, the Grand Pool Complex at MGM Grand measuring 6.5 acres, The Cosmopolitan’s Pool District that features three distinct experiences, and the Encore Beach Club at Wynn.
Prior to his exit from the Las Vegas gaming industry, billionaire Steve Wynn proposed building a 38-acre lagoon behind Wynn Las Vegas and Encore on what is currently the Wynn Golf Club. Wynn Resorts scrapped the $1.5 billion plan after its founder resigned amid sexual misconduct allegations in early 2018.
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