Eight years ago, the Las Vegas City Council passed a water conservation ordinance. As many residents know, part of that law calls for stages of conservation as water shortages worsen.
Now the city is looking to revise it.
But in so doing, local officials should be realistic. If they can’t follow through on the provisions of the ordinance, then those requirements shouldn’t be included in the first place.
To its credit, the city has followed the stages under the ordinance pretty faithfully, although perhaps it could be more aggressive in issuing citations to violators.
Other parts of the ordinance have been flat-out ignored. An example is the requirement that public, semi-public and governmental restroom and shower facilities post signs encouraging water conservation. Yet the men’s restrooms and showers at the city’s own recreation center don’t have any such signs.
Also, the city hasn’t provided literature on conservation to title companies, even though the ordinance clearly states that such information should be handed out at closing transactions for real estate.
It’s wonderful to have all of these requirements in the ordinance — which Gov. Bill Richardson has praised as a model for the entire state. But if the city itself isn’t following the provisions, the water conservation effort loses credibility. How can the city expect anyone else to follow its ordinance when it has failed to do so?
In revising the ordinance, the city should drop those provisions that it realistically can’t enforce or handle. An eye toward simplicity would be helpful. If requirements for the city remain, it has a duty to follow them. And that may take city departments working together.