As Lake Mead continues to recede in water levels, cities throughout the Southwest could potentially find themselves without enough supply of freshwater. This development is especially alarming for Las Vegas which relies heavily on water from the Colorado River as its primary source.

Casinos can have a significant effect on local water resources, both from an environmental and socioeconomic perspective. Understanding how casinos affect communities and their surrounding environment is essential when formulating public policies.

Water usage

Water is becoming a scarce resource in the United States. With population growth continuing, water supply and delivery systems are under strain, prompting some communities to look into ways to upgrade their infrastructure.

The effects of casinos on local water resources are complex and require thoughtful consideration. On the plus side, casinos can be beneficial to cities as they attract tourists who often bring money into the area and create jobs.

However, the casino industry can also have an adverse effect on local water resources. Vegas alone uses approximately three billion gallons of water annually.

Though this issue can be serious, it should be remembered that water usage in the city only accounts for a fraction of total consumption. Most domestic users utilize most of the city’s available supplies of water.


Casinos have many positive impacts on local economies and tourism, but they may also negatively affect water resources in nearby communities. Wastewater from toilets and other human activities can pollute rivers and lakes if not treated properly.

When this occurs, it can introduce pathogens and disease-carrying bacteria into the water, posing a danger for aquatic plants and animals alike.

Thankfully, this issue is less widespread than it once was. Nowadays, many people are beginning to view wastewater as a renewable resource that can be recovered and put to good use.

Water resource recovery is an emerging industry that strives to salvage and reuse valuable products found in waste, such as water, nutrients, heavy metals and energy. The purpose is to protect ecosystems from pollutants while also shielding people from health hazards associated with wastewater exposure.

Sewage disposal

Casinos have a significant effect on local water resources. Not only do they consume large amounts of water, but they may also be responsible for sewage disposal.

Casinos can avoid this issue by installing onsite treatment systems. These units remove waste from the casino and reuse it for irrigating parking lots or landscaping, thus decreasing water demands.

Another option is to inject wastewater underground, which can be done using a membrane bioreactor system designed to meet drinking water standards.

The Cowlitz Indian Tribe, which is building a casino outside La Center, plans to inject up to 400,000 gallons of treated waste into the ground each day. According to the tribe, they’re using “state-of-the-art green technology” that meets drinking water requirements.

Air quality

Air pollution is the inhalation of chemicals, gases or particulate matter into the air. This can have detrimental effects on human health by leading to respiratory diseases and cancer.

Air quality affects all areas of a community, from indoors to outdoors. People with preexisting medical conditions such as asthma or emphysema are especially vulnerable to unhealthy levels of air pollutants.

The Environmental Protection Agency (EPA) calculates an Air Quality Index (AQI) to alert you when air pollution is unhealthy. Values are assigned for five major pollutants under regulation by EPA: ground-level ozone, particulate matter, carbon monoxide, sulfur dioxide and nitrogen dioxide.

The Air Quality Index (AQI) is used to alert people when their air will approach or exceed national ambient air quality standards for protection of public health. The EPA publishes the AQI online at and other websites; additionally, newspapers, radio stations, television shows, websites and blogs across America regularly report on it as well.