Las Vegas Grand Prix joins race for water

Las Vegas, Nevada. Image: Leo, Unsplash

The team behind the Las Vegas Formula One Grand Prix has launched a first-of-its-kind water conservation programme to implement technologies that can reduce, and eventually offset, outdoor water consumption at large-scale sporting events.

The water conservation programme will be rolled out at the MGM Grand hotel and casino, in partnership with Southern Nevada Water Authority (SNWA), WaterStart and MGM Resorts.

The Las Vegas Grand Prix and its partners will install an atmospheric water generator which captures water vapour and returns it back into the system – to offset the expected outdoor water usage throughout the Grand Prix race weekend.

"This project sets a new aspiration for global motorsports. If successful, the Las Vegas Grand Prix is aiming to become the first net-zero water consumption race in Formula 1 history."

Renee Wilm, Las Vegas Grand Prix

The programme will leverage the high humidity generated from a commercial cooling tower at the MGM Grand hotel and casino during the race to increase the water collected. Already in some areas of the world, this process is being used to create drinkable water where there is no access to running water.

A pre-pilot phase is being conducted in the weeks leading up to the race, taking place from 17-19 November, to install the atmospheric water generator to see if it converts the water vapour released from the cooling tower into water. Specific targets for water conservation during the race will be further informed by the pre-pilot phase.

Atmospheric water generation process from the MGM Grand hotel and casino. Image: Las Vegas Grand Prix Inc
Internal water generation process. Image: Las Vegas Grand Prix Inc

Renee Wilm, chief executive of Las Vegas Grand Prix, Inc. said, “As responsible stewards of resources in the communities where we race, we are honoured to partner with our neighbours on this innovative water conservation programme.

“This project not only benefits our home in the Las Vegas Valley, but also sets a new aspiration for global motorsports. If successful, the Las Vegas Grand Prix is aiming to become the first net-zero water consumption race in Formula 1 history."

The MGM Grand hotel and casino in Las Vegas already implements a number of water conservation measures to reduce overall water consumption. This includes installing or retrofitting water-efficient fixtures including faucets, showerheads and toilets, using water-efficient appliances, including water-efficient laundry machines and dishwashers and encouraging a towel and linen reuse programme for guests.

Michael Gulich, vice president of environmental sustainability and ESG reporting at MGM Resorts International, also added: “With the majority of its operations located in Las Vegas, MGM Resorts has long been committed to water conservation, with particular focus on consumptive water use. MGM are thrilled to continue its water stewardship journey with this exciting and collaborative initiative.”

MGM Grand hotel and casino. Image: Alex Vegas, Unsplash

According to the Southern Nevada Water Authority, Southern Nevada is one of the few places in the world that recycles all indoor water on a community-wide scale. Approximately 40% of the water in its service area is used indoors of which 99% is recycled, either for greywater reuse or return-flow credits.

Reuse involves capturing, treating, and repurposing highly-treated wastewater flows to irrigate parks and golf courses. Return flow credits is where highly-treated wastewater is returned to the Colorado River, and Nevada can withdraw a specified volume, so long as sufficient water is returned to the river each year.

David Johnson, deputy general manager at Southern Nevada Water Authority said: “Southern Nevada continues to be a world leader in water conservation and efficiency. Through this partnership, we are not only helping offset water use for the Las Vegas Grand Prix event, but also establishing a water-saving precedent for future large-scale events in our community.”

The Las Vegas Grand Prix is predicted to attract more than 100,000 spectators each day over the four-day event bringing in up to US$13 billion to the local economy.

Nate Allen, executive director at WaterStart added: “WaterStart has led water innovation projects around the world since being founded in Las Vegas 10 years ago. We are thrilled to have a renowned organisation like the Las Vegas Grand Prix as the first corporation of its kind to step forward to partner with our members.

“The Las Vegas Grand Prix is setting an example for its peers to invest in the communities they reach through teams of knowledgeable and forward-thinking partners like SNWA and MGM. At WaterStart, we hope this is just the start of new corporate partnerships that help accelerate the deployment of new innovative water solutions.”