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Group wants companies to help curb Las Vegas’ water use

Updated October 20, 2017 - 5:21 pm

A dancing water fountain, outdoor lakes, an erupting volcano — all regular water uses on the Strip.

But the majority of a Strip property’s water use is actually in air conditioning through the use of cooling towers, said Bronson Mack, spokesman for the Southern Nevada Water Authority.

Cooling towers are the second-biggest use of water in Las Vegas, after grass landscaping, said Nate Allen, executive director of WaterStart. His public-private nonprofit group, founded in 2013, is trying to recruit a water technology company that can make cooling towers more efficient and less costly to set up shop in Nevada.

“Depending on the size of the cooling tower system and square footage being air conditioned, cooling towers can use hundreds to thousands of gallons per hour,” Mack said. “Most of our cooling towers in Las Vegas run pretty consistently during the summer days, and all of us that frequent or work in large buildings are thankful for that.”

After consulting with the water authority and different Strip properties, WaterStart announced its request for proposals Oct. 6. The request is an opportunity for companies to deploy and test new technology.

If a company’s pilot is successful, then the company must commit to opening a presence in the state, he said.

“This is one of the main tools that we use to recruit (water) tech companies,” Allen said.

Three international companies — Syrinix, RedEye and STAR Water — all created a presence in Nevada during the second quarter.

This is the nonprofit’s eighth round of requests. It accepted its first set of proposals in September 2015. Since then, WaterStart has evaluated 180 proposals and implemented 16 pilot projects. The $1.2 million in funding for those pilots was shared among WaterStart partners.

WaterStart, formerly known as the Nevada Center of Excellence in Water, works with state agencies and organizations to create job growth and diversify the region’s economy through supporting innovation in water technology. Its partners include the Southern Nevada Water Authority, the Governor’s Office of Economic Development, the Desert Research Institute and the Las Vegas Global Economic Alliance.

Contact Nicole Raz at nraz@reviewjournal.com or 702-380-4512. Follow @JournalistNikki on Twitter.

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