The Dec. 10 article stating that Clark County ranks as the nation’s sixth-largest “water hog” is wildly misleading, because it doesn’t disclose the qualifying restrictions in the study by the Center for Biological Diversity (“Clark County ranks high on ‘water hogs’ list”).
Using the U.S. Geological Survey water usage data, a correct statement would be: “Of the 40 counties in the nation with populations of more than 1 million, Clark County ranks sixth in per-capita domestic water consumption.” The “study” considered only the most populous counties (arbitrarily defined as populations greater than 1 million) and only domestic water consumption, which excludes usage for agriculture, industrial, mining and power generation. Neither of these qualifications was mentioned in the article.
Addressing the first omission, based on population, the 40 largest counties in the country represent only about a quarter of the nation’s population. For instance, looking at counties with populations greater than 400,000 (covering half of the country’s population) reveals that Clark County uses less water per person for domestic consumption than nearby Washoe County, home to Reno (143 versus 129 gallons per person per day).
Also, some real water hogs with greater per-capita domestic consumption than Clark County in wet areas include Montgomery County, Md. (204 gallons per person per day), East Baton Rouge Parish, La. (144 gallons per person per day) and Honolulu County, Hawaii (144 gallons per person per day). The average domestic water consumption for the nation is 88 gallons per person per day. With no restriction on population, Clark County ranks 291 out of 3,224 counties in domestic per-capita water usage.
The situation is very different looking at total water consumption, including agriculture, industrial, mining and power generation. The focus on domestic consumption is myopic because nationally, domestic consumption accounts for only 8 percent of total freshwater consumption. Clark County ranks 1,965 out of 3,224 counties in total per-capita water usage. Indeed, Clark County ranks only eighth among counties named “Clark” in the United States.
Using a modest amount of water, Clark County provides a beautiful home to 2 million people and a vacation playland for the world. Misleading, biased “studies” don’t deserve to be published in our fine city’s newspaper.
Even though I am a liberal Democrat, as a 20-year reader of the Review-Journal, I feel it is our newspaper, as it is the only daily available. Over the years, I have almost never agreed with the editorial page, but have appreciated that the general news presented has been fair and balanced.
I am disturbed that the Adelson family statement made no pledge to allow the news to continue to be fair. I do not understand why the Adelsons did not disclose their ownership right away. It appears they only did so under pressure from outside sources. The family member hanging up on a Review-Journal reporter is also disturbing.
All in all, it does not give me a feeling of confidence that your newspaper will continue to be one I enjoy reading. But I am willing to wait it out and see if the R-J is allowed to maintain journalistic independence.