What other cities can learn from water conservation in Las Vegas

What other cities can learn from water conservation in Las Vegas

If you’re searching for municipal/regional water conservation models, the Southern Nevada Water Authority’s Water Smart turf rebate program was called out as a “water revolutionary” at last fall’s American Society of Landscape Architects Annual Conference.

It might be hard to think of the region around Las Vegas living up to that description.

At the 2011 Southern Nevada Convene for Green Regional Sustainability Summit, keynote speaker Robert Lang, professor at UNLV and co-director of Brookings Mountain West, confronted the negative views many people outside of Las Vegas hold of the city and the need to “re-brand” the city.

The water conservation program is just one of the ways that the city, and the region as a whole, is changing its reputation from wasteful to sustainable.

In Las Vegas alone, 8,000 residential and commercial property owners have saved over 1.5 billion gallons of water per year by stripping up their grass and replacing it with water-efficient landscaping.

That’s fantastic, you might be thinking, but does this successful case of behavior change really enhance the brand image of “Sin City”?

The answer is yes. Businesses aren’t the only ones who can leverage their sustainability story for significant benefits.

According to our recent Eco Pulse™ study, almost half of the national population considers a company’s environmental reputation in their purchase decisions. Why wouldn’t those same people consider a city’s environmental reputation in decisions to visit, relocate their family or business, or host an event?

After all, environmental sustainability – particularly access to natural resources like water – is a factor in a locale’s overall, long-term health, resiliency and development. And water, in particular, is going to be a bigger and bigger issue for individuals and businesses in coming years, between climate change and the increased rates that will come with long-delayed infrastructure updates.

Sustainability initiatives at the local or regional level also provide opportunities for valuable partnerships between government entities, nonprofits, utilities and businesses.

The turf rebate program does this at a local level by training landscape designers in water-efficient landscaping and providing resources that can drive business to those landscapers.

Our 2013 Utility Pulse™  study encourages retailers and power utilities to form partnerships to increase awareness and participation in energy conservation programs. Partnerships can play an even bigger role in making water conservation visible to residents, while making your water conservation story visible outside your city or region.

Use partnerships to boost behavior change from complementary angles, in ways that benefit everyone involved.


Posted on

July 9, 2013

About the Author

Meghan McDonald

Meghan concepts and writes copy for clients and also reviews creative deliverables for clarity, grammar and brand alignment. She brings an interdisciplinary background in environmental studies and journalism to our team. If you want to know the name of a tree or flower, she’s the one to ask.

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