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Residential water use

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Wed, Dec 31, 2008

How much water do we use in Las Vegas? Search the addresses of single-family homes to examine residential water consumption.

Where does this information come from?
Information on water consumption comes from three member agencies of the Southern Nevada Water Authority -- the Las Vegas Valley Water District, the City of North Las Vegas and the City of Henderson. Those three serve more than 500,000 accounts in the Las Vegas valley. Information on single-family residential properties comes from the Clark County Assessor.
What period of time does this interactive cover?
April 1, 2007 through March 31, 2008.
Why is this interactive only able to search single-family properties?
Our original intent was to focus on residential water consumption as a whole, but multi-unit housing often is billed together under a single meter. Rather than include some multi-unit housing and not others, we opted instead to look exclusively at single-family homes.
Was the data altered in any way?
Yes, for the purposes of standardization. The three agencies provided the same general data in slightly different ways. We condensed the year of water use into a single number in gallons for each "premise address" (the location where the water is being used). From there, we built a relationship between the water data and the Assessor's information.
What's covered?
About 430,000 of the 450,000 parcels designated as single-family residential land use in Las Vegas, North Las Vegas and Henderson -- about 95 percent of them.
What about the other 5 percent?
For the most part, they were instances where there was no exact match between the street address of the water consumption and the street address in the tax roll. This is frequently caused by missing directionals before the street name (north, south, east or west) or incorrect/missing suffixes (street, avenue, way, etc.) for addresses. Those locations are still in the interactive, they just won't have a water use figure.
Why is other information on living space, pools and sprinklers included in addition to a home's water use?
We tried to include data elements that can have an affect on the amount of water used. A home with 3,000 square feet of living space will probably use a different amount of water than one with 1,800 square feet. Even a moderately sized swimming pool in the valley can hold roughly 12,000 to 20,000 gallons of water. The figures are provided as some context for a property's consumption.
What else could contribute to the amount of water used that's not included in this interactive?
The number of people living in a single-family home will certainly affect the amount of water consumed. A property with xeriscaping will have different water needs than a home with a lawn. The size of the lot can make a difference as well, especially for homes with sizeable areas of grass or many trees that ultimately demand a lot of water. Homes can also sit vacant for months at a time as unoccupied rentals or through a foreclosure. Leaking pipes and plumbing fixtures can dramatically increase water use.
What does the water use map show?
For the map, we added all the water being used by single-family homes inside of valley "block groups" - a small geographic area used by the U.S. Census Bureau. We then divided this number by the number of properties with water-using accounts to yield an approximate gallons-per-user figure for each, which gives a general sense of water used by homes in a neighborhood or group of neighborhoods.

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