Thursday, January 1, 2009

Ever Happen To You?

I'm always fascinated by what y'all see when you arrive at McCarran. Remember the time I noticed the odd image of the cow in a showgirl's headdress to tout the agribusiness of Nevada for reasons I still know not why?

Well, here's a new one I had forgotten was sitting on my camera from my most recent return:

In case it's hard to see, here's what it says:

Vegas waiters aren't being rude,
they're just saving water.
Remember, this is a desert.
Water is served by request only
at participating restaurants.

The billboard is from the Water Conservation Coalition, which is a fancy way of saying the Southern Nevada Water Authority, the Vegas region's governmental agency responsible for dealing with water use issues. After rooting around, I found this site, which explains that the Nevada Restaurant Association is working with the SNWA to create the Water Upon Request program.

Menu snipeThe site claims that more than 180 restaurants have signed up to participate and some menus even have stickers "that indicate the restaurant's support of conservation by serving water only upon request." They're supposed to look, I believe, like this to your right.

Now, I eat out. A lot. I've never seen such a thing. Have any of you? If so, where? 180 restaurants? Really?

I searched all over the Web and found such old newspaper references to this idea in the Las Vegas press that both writers are now deceased. One was a 2003 Las Vegas Sun column by the late Ruthe Deskin that claimed 120 local restaurants were doing this. Another was a piece in the Review-Journal in March 2004 by the late Rod Smith that didn't actually talk about this as a SNWA program but said that Boyd and Station casinos both has "water upon request" programs in most or all of their restaurants. I was at the TGIF's at Suncoast just tonight and they brought us water without our asking. That's owned by Boyd.

By the by, this order form allows restaurateurs to get menu stickers as well as coasters, pens and paycheck inserts (?!?). Has anyone out there who does NOT work for the Southern Nevada Water Authority ever seen any of these things?


Amy said...

I'm pretty sure I saw a sign about this program at the register during a recent visit to the Original Pancake House at Charleston and Decatur. I don't recall specifically seeing the sticker on the menu, though.

Anonymous said...

More evidence that the SNWA has more money than it knows what to do with.

David McKee

Tom M. said...

According to wikianswers there are over 2300 restaurants in las vegas. It would seem that 160 is a "drop in the bucket".

robertw4771 said...

It is a total bunch of nonsense. Water useage in any city is not affected greatly by water glasses at a restaurant.

V.S. said...

This idea for water conservation is not unique to desert towns. New York City has had periodic water shortages when there was inadequate rainfall in the upstate reservoir system.

I remember about 20-25 years ago, at city request, restaurants were asked to only serve water if it were requested. Restaurants loved the idea and universally got with the program. They saved glassware or paper cups, as well as the water, labor, and energy costs of washing glasses. They also sold more non-free liquids. When the water shortage ended, few restaurants returned to serving water automatically. (This was all before better restaurants figured out how to charge for designer water and make you feel like a cheapskate if you ordered "tap.")

I haven't been in NYC for 10 years, so I don't know if they have finally returned to providing unrequested water.

Steve said...

Correct me if I'm wrong, but water that is served, but not consumed, in restaurants would likely be poured into a sink somewhere, right? And thus that water would eventually return to Lake Mead, earning Southern Nevada so-called "return flow credits" to its Colorado River allocation. In other words, we'd get to use that water again someday without being penalized.

The water we really need to conserve is the water that we spill onto the ground, watering landscape and golf courses and things of that nature (not that I'm against golf! -- far from it!). Or water that evaporates, from water features that are still found in certain places from around town. That's where we really need conservation.

But to answer Steve's question, no, I have never seen or heard of this program and, like him, I eat out a great deal.

Anonymous said...

anyone notice in ruthe deskin's column, which was a few days before the invasion of iraq, that she expressed fears and concerns about that very event that turned out to be realized to T? people use to mock deskin as a little bit batty, but that's kind of impressive.

B. said...

TGI Fridays in Coast properties are not Coast-owned/operated restaurants. .... And nope, I haven't noticed any "Water Upon Request" memorabilia in any of the Vegas restaurants I frequent.

kel said...

I dine out a lot, as well. I've only seen the sign at the Original Pancake House, Ft Apache/Flamingo location. It was near the register, just like the previous poster mentioned.

Downtown Bob said...

To expand a bit on what 'B' said, TGIFriday's locations are leased areas, and not casino owned (therefore governed by their own corporate headquarters when it comes to such things, and not by Boyd unless water-serving practices was written into the lease agreement).

Not trying to get off-topic, but I do rather mourn the loss of the Monterey Room - which would have been an excellent test of Boyd's adherence (or lack thereof) to said water policy.

-Downtown Bob