World Water Day: We All Play a Role in Conserving Earth’s Most Precious Resource

MGM Resorts and WaterStart Join Forces to Spread Innovative Water Practices Across MGM Resorts' Global Operations

By Cindy Ortega, Chief Sustainability Offer for MGM Resorts International

If a business wanted to cut its energy use in a significant and impactful way, it easily could by tapping into a vast array of energy-efficient technologies currently available in the market.

But reduce its water use? That might prove a bit more challenging. It could be done, as the market is full of ideas about saving water. But there hasn’t been an efficient way to vet those ideas, short of implementing them. From a business perspective, that’s important. You want to know the benefits and drawbacks of any new technology before you put it to use. Otherwise, you could very well waste time and money on something that isn’t all that effective.

That’s why MGM Resorts partnered with WaterStart, which we officially announced today on World Water Day. WaterStart brings innovative, startup companies together with business and community leaders to promote and advance emerging water technologies. They will identify cutting-edge technologies for us to implement throughout our global operations. Through this partnership, we’ll become an accelerator for water-efficient innovations.

It’s the next natural step for MGM Resorts as a company, and for the region. Our view is that water is our most precious resource; it is our responsibility to use it wisely. This is especially true in the desert.

We have a culture of water preservation here in Southern Nevada, thanks to Pat Mulroy’s decades-long leadership of the Southern Nevada Water Authority (SNWA). She has become known worldwide as one of the leading experts in water conservation. Under her guidance, the SNWA has become one of the world’s most highly-respected water management organizations.

Since 2002, water use in the valley has declined by almost 33 percent, which illustrates the effectiveness of SNWA’s efforts. As the Colorado River system continues to experience the worst drought on record, the Las Vegas valley can only benefit from having some of the world’s foremost water experts mitigating the effects of it.

The drought has impacted Lake Mead, where Las Vegas draws 90 percent of its water. Since 2000, the water level has dropped 130 feet. But the SNWA employs a cutting-edge system that allows for nearly a 100 percent recycling rate of all indoor water. The water that goes down a drain in Southern Nevada is treated and returned to the lake to be used again. This means the water that you showered with at home or in your hotel room this morning will be back in Lake Mead by tomorrow.

This process will significantly extend and preserve Southern Nevada’s water supply. But we, the consumers, must still treat water with the respect it deserves. This means educating ourselves and sharing our knowledge with others. This means doing the simple things that, over time, add up to real savings: turn off the faucet when you’re brushing your teeth. Use drought-tolerant plants, if you aren’t already. Ask the SNWA to give you an indoor water audit and retrofit kit, two services offered free to residents. Be mindful of water.

In 2015 the MGM Resorts domestic properties reduced water usage by 85 million gallons.  This was done through smart landscaping and the continued use of low flow fixtures and other smart water tactics.  This savings is enough water to fill 128 Olympic sized swimming pools. Further, efficiencies built into CityCenter’s campus have enabled the development to save more than 50 million gallons of water each year since its opening in 2009. These are just a few of the things we have done as a company to save water. In the future, we plan to do even more.  

Nathan Allen

Las Vegas, Nevada