The first of many water communities in Southern Nevada

The Mad Dog Blog

By Mike Henle

1992 Article by Mike Henle Published in New York Times

Almost 30 years later, in 2021 little has changed.

The year was 1992 and I was busy writing a feature story for the New York Times, this time on water usage in Southern Nevada.

The housing boom was heating up again, although restrictions had grown tougher.   

Back in 1992, water was common in Southern Nevada housing tracts, though the wheels were going to be tightened over the years.

Lake Mead was already facing issues, especially as housing construction increased as surrounding cities started to expand in Arizona, which was capitalizing on newly-developed communities where water falls were being included in what was usually desert landscaping. 

The feature spurred my interest, especially considering that the New York Times wanted the story.

Meanwhile, Las Vegas developers had sparked the interest of several builders such as Mart and Al Collins for the Lakes, a master-planned community in the far-west valley about two miles west of Rainbow and Sahara roads.

We had been visiting with developer Al Collins in Idaho a short time earlier, and the idea seemed like a gold mine. To beef up the idea, Collins took me and my wife, Carmen, up to Rainbow Boulevard pointing out the development would be called “The Lakes at Las Vegas.”

The Collins brothers, long-time Southern Nevadans, ushered us into a beautiful helicopter, as we headed to the north for a hidden getaway.

The fever of The Lakes Las Vegas had already caught fire, as evidenced by a long-time Collins employee named Denny Selleck, who worked for Collins, an avid off-road racer (just like the Collins Brothers). It was announced that long-time developer Larry Canarelli would be in charge of the community.

However, Selleck uncovered Collins’ first setback when it was determined that Lake Las Vegas had a substantial leak.

In perfect manner, the Collins Brothers along with Selleck quickly repaired the leaky lake – and the rest is history.

Nowadays, Lake Mead is at record lows and its history has required an eagle eye to keep it from going totally dry.

Ironically, the New York Times called for another similar request regarding water usage.

This time, the paper bannered with: “In Las Vegas, Water Rules Dictate Growth,” and you can bet all these years later that the situation is far worse now.

Lake Mead continues to drop dramatically, and rumors have it that more restrictions are on the way.