The plan from Wynn Resorts to build a water park featuring a 38-acre man-made lake as well as a 1,000-room hotel tower and small casino near the center of Las Vegas has drawn the attention of conservationists.

According to a report from The Associated Press news service, the planned Paradise Park development was unveiled last month and is still in the design phase without having received any approvals, although the company’s board of directors could give its go-ahead as early as the autumn.

The brainchild of Steve Wynn, CEO for Las Vegas-based Wynn Resorts, the planned venture’s lake would be the size of nearly 100 Olympic swimming pools and is to be paid for by resort fees on hotel rooms at the nearby Wynn Las Vegas Resort and Encore At Wynn Las Vegas Resort as well as at the new hotel tower. The casino entrepreneur revealed that non-guests would be required to hand over an entrance fee of $20 to $30 in order to enjoy the “lunacy”.

“Paradise Park is… taking advantage of imagination and fantasy on property that we own for zero, with water rights that we own for zero, and we’re the only ones that have them at this size,” said 74-year-old Wynn. “And we’re going to do it with solar power and we’re going to use less water than a golf course so we’re going to be very green at the same time.”

However, Wynn’s assertions have been questioned by water conservationists that ask if it is ethical to be bringing such a development, which would also feature a nine-hole golf course, to drought-stricken Nevada at this time.

“Artificial lakes we should think very hard and long about before we start to expand to that,” said UNLV soil and water scientist Dale Devitt, Director for the Center For Urban Water Conservation.

The Southern Nevada Water Authority estimated that the planned lake would use 300 to 400 acre-feet of water per year while stating that the existing 18-hole golf course on the site goes through 700 to 800 acre-feet over the same time. By comparison, Wynn Resorts’ Fountains Of Bellagio feature uses about 50 to 60 acre-feet every twelve months with one acre-foot approximately enough to serve two average Las Vegas homes for over a year.

“It’s water neutral; at worst water neutral,” Michael Weaver from Wynn Resorts told The Associated Press. “We believe it will be better.”

In addition, Wynn Resorts declared that it would be utilizing technology from Miami-based Crystal Lagoons US Corporation to minimize water evaporation. But, this assertion has been rejected as implausible if not outright magical by David Groenfeldt, an anthropologist who studies water ethics as a director for New Mexico’s Water-Culture Institute.

“It’s like when you’re living on borrowed money and you’re buying a Ferrari and you keep borrowing and borrowing,” Groenfeldt divulged to The Associated Press.

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