Future looking statements from PICO HOLDING's annual 10-k filing considering its subsidary VIDLER WATER COMPANY, INC.
We believe that continuing trends in Nevada and Arizona indicate strong future demand for Vidler's water rights and water storage assets.
Based on census figures, in the three years ended July 1, 2003, the population of Clark County, Nevada, which includes metropolitan Las Vegas, increased 14.6% to almost 1.6 million residents. Around 70,000 people are moving to the area annually. Currently Las Vegas takes most of its water supply from Lake Mead. Due to the continued growth in demand for water and 5 years of drought, the level of Lake Mead has reached 50 year lows. Accordingly, Las Vegas is aggressively seeking to conserve water (e.g., rules have been introduced restricting water use in new homes) and to diversify its sources of water supply. At the same time, the increasing cost of housing in Las Vegas is leading to more rapid growth in outlying areas within commuting distance.
Over time, we believe that these factors will lead to demand for water in parts of southern Nevada where Vidler owns or has an interest in water rights, including southern Lincoln County/northern Clark County and Sandy Valley and Muddy River in Clark County. If growth management initiatives are introduced in Las Vegas, this will lead to even more rapid growth in the areas surrounding metropolitan Las Vegas.
In Arizona, the continued growth of the municipalities surrounding Phoenix in Maricopa County is likely to lead to strong demand for Vidler's water rights in the Harquahala Valley. According to census estimates, the population of Maricopa County increased 9.5% in the three years to July 1, 2003, to almost 3.4 million residents. Many of the municipalities surrounding Phoenix/Scottsdale where the growth is concentrated, do not receive allotments of water from the Colorado River, and are therefore forced to find alternative supplies of water.