Water Resources Program

MSC05 3110
1 University of New Mexico
Albuquerque, NM 87131-0001

Physical Location:
1915 Roma Avenue NE
Economics Building Room 1048

Phone: (505) 277-7759
Fax: (505) 277-5226

Is Las Vegas resilient?

New work by UNM professor suggests it might be



Las Vegas, with its image of excess, may look like one of the least resilient cities in America. But a newly published essay by UNM Water Resources Program Director John Fleck argues that in this case, looks may deceive.

"The ability to band together to take collective action for the common good is a key to resilience in human systems," Fleck writes. "In Las Vegas, the first step was the 1991 formation of the Southern Nevada Water Authority, turning a competition among separate municipal water agencies into a regional collaboration. They pooled their water rights and agreed that when water became scarce, shortages would be shared. Moving beyond a “tragedy of the commons” to share a common pool resources is a key step toward resilience in the face of scarcity."

The essay is included in "Resilience Matters", a new volume published by the Island Press Urban Resilience Project.