Friday, May 4, 2007 | 7:03 a.m.
In the late 1980s, when there seemed to be plenty of water to go around, developers were pitching new developments featuring large, ornate aquatic features.
That bothered environmentalist Ann Zorn, who anticipated the day when this desert community would regret foolishly wasting water.
So she made water conservation her battle, and nearly stopped the development of Lake Las Vegas, home to posh resorts and upscale homes.
Zorn, who crusaded in the mid-1980s for sufficient funding for the Regional Flood Control District to make it a strong regulator of water issues, and who served as its advisory committee chairwoman, died April 15. She was 81.
Zorn's family announced her death this week but did not release details.
A Las Vegas resident of 38 years, Zorn was the widow of Roman Zorn, who served as UNLV president from 1969 to 1973 and died in 2002.
In January 1989 the Zorn-headed advisory committee recommended against Lake Las Vegas, persuading the Regional Flood Control Board to deny the developer a variance.
Two months later the board reversed itself after heavy lobbying from high-powered supporters of the project and awarded the variance.
That defeat did not stop Zorn from opposing other projects with large water displays, which she said wasted water.
It would take several years and a severe drought before local regulators found the wisdom of Zorn's concerns.
Born April 15, 1926, in Little Rock, Ark., Zorn attended Wellesley College and graduated from the University of Arkansas.
In Southern Nevada, she championed managed growth, improved public transportation and cleaner air through stricter auto emissions control. She served for 22 years on the Clark County Air Quality Control Hearing Board, seven as chairwoman.
She was a member of the Clark County Growth Task Force in 2005.
Zorn is survived by four daughters , Frances Zorn, Carolyn Zorn, Marian Lawrence and Kathryn Zorn-Bracety , and three grandchildren.
Her family says donations can be made in Zorn's memory to the Nature Conservancy, 4245 N. Fairfax Drive, Suite 100, Arlington, VA 22203.