Our Approach to Water Stewardship

As a major operator of hotels, resorts and gaming destinations, many of which are in the desert destination of Las Vegas, we recognize water as a critical resource for cooling, irrigation and horticulture, pools and water features, guest rooms, food and dining services, and water, sanitation and hygiene services to guests and employees. Additionally, water is used in our supply chain for growing food and cleaning linens. We are committed to using water responsibly and continuing water stewardship across our company and supply chain.

Historically, MGM Resorts’ approach to water was centered on conservation, with an integrated approach to water management focused on efficiencies in Design & Development and ongoing operations. But in 2022, the focus of our water management approach began to shift. Conditions of the Colorado River basin, the primary source of water for our Las Vegas Strip resorts, inspired us to review our relationship with water and in turn, the MGM Resorts Social Impact & Sustainability Center of Excellence developed new strategic priorities that extend beyond water conservation and into water stewardship.


Water Governance

The Corporate Social Responsibility & Sustainability (CSR&S) Committee has oversight of water-related issues and in recent years has provided input on implementation of water-efficient technologies and advice on stakeholder engagement to embed water stewardship across the Company. In 2022, MGM Resorts developed a global water policy to outline how we manage and monitor our impact on water resources. For more information on our governance of environmental and social responsibility, click here.

CEO Water Mandate Endorsement

In 2022, MGM Resorts President and CEO Bill Hornbuckle endorsed the CEO Water Mandate – a UN Global Compact initiative encouraging business leaders to advance water stewardship. MGM Resorts is one of approximately 230 endorsing companies, the first gaming company, the first Las Vegas-based company and one of only a handful of hospitality companies to make such a commitment. With this endorsement, MGM Resorts commits to action and continuous improvement across six elements of water conservation, including direct operations, supply chain and watershed management, collective action, public policy, community engagement and transparency. Companies are required to report annually on progress toward their goals. Click here for a list of endorsing companies.

Water Strategy

Water-related issues have been managed as part of operational efforts to reduce water consumption and are thereby incorporated directly into long-term business objectives. In 2017, we aligned our water management approach to the United Nations Sustainable Development Goals – namely SDG 6 Clean Water and Sanitation – and aimed to enable progress on our water targets – (1) to reduce water per square foot by 33% by 2025 (2007 baseline), (2) to reduce water per square foot by 35% by 2030 (2007 baseline). In 2019, we achieved our 2025 water goal to reduce water per square foot by 30% from a 2007 base year. We reset that goal to 33% by 2025, from the same base year.

Research-Driven Strategic Water Planning

As part of our journey toward corporate water leadership, we developed a Water Whitepaper. Developed in 2022, the Whitepaper is a data-driven and stakeholder-informed research paper that helped us to understand the condition of water in jurisdictions where MGM Resorts operates, guiding the development of a Global Water Policy and a new strategic framework for water stewardship. 

Strategic Framework for Water Stewardship

We consider all water-related business impacts in our approach to water stewardship to ensure we are adapting and mitigating to both physical risks from water scarcity and risks associated with the transition to a water secure future. In turn, MGM Resorts developed a new holistic approach to water, comprised of five key principles:

  • Water Measurement: Measures to monitor MGM Resorts’ water inputs, outputs, and risk exposure
  • Water Efficiency: Measures to reduce water use in MGM Resorts’ direct operations and across its supply chain
  • Water Quality: Measures to maintain water quality standards
  • Water Citizenship: Efforts to raise the ambition of water stewardship through stakeholder and community outreach
  • Water Culture: Efforts to embed water conservation within MGM Resorts and demonstrate transparency in progress toward goals

Water-related Business Impacts

In response to the condition of the Colorado River Basin, the Environmental Sustainability team led a strategic review of the Company’s approach to water management, including research, internal modeling, stakeholder engagement and third-party expert consultation. The review resulted in the identification of four potential water-related business impacts beyond water supply availability, each with its own subset of risks:

  • Physical water risks
  • Regulatory water risks
  • Reputational water risks
  • Water-related business opportunities

Water Risk Management

Water-related risks are assessed as part of MGM Resorts’ overall formal Enterprise Risk Management process. MGM Resorts operators maintain operational best practices and work with officials in compliance with all applicable laws and regulations. For more information on our ESG risk management processes, please click here.

Water Risk Assessments

In 2020, MGM Resorts engaged third-party experts to conduct detailed assessments related to water risks.

  • Water-related Climate Risk Analysis: The first was a detailed climate risk assessment that included an assessment of properties’ exposure to significant water-related risks, including water stress, sea-level rise and flooding. The assessment utilized the WRI Aqueduct Water Risk Atlas data, data from local water authorities, scenario planning and other internal methods, resulting in a complete water risk profile of all properties.
  • Water Withdrawal and Consumption Quantification: In 2021, MGM Resorts engaged an independent water expert to conduct a water withdrawal and consumption quantification analysis for our Las Vegas resorts. We were particularly interested in quantifying water use within our Las Vegas resorts and understanding the ratio of consumptive to non-consumptive water use across our properties. This engagement aimed to identify key water usage drivers and develop a comprehensive water strategy to reduce water use in priority areas.
  • Water Regulation Monitoring: The Government Affairs division monitors applicable water regulations at local, county, state, regional, federal and international levels. In collaboration with Risk Management, the Social Impact & Sustainability COE and other divisions, water-related regulatory risks are monitored continuously and managed accordingly.

Water Stress Management

We recognize the long-term water stress in the southwestern United States. Southern Nevada’s innovative water infrastructure planning allows approximately 40% of water used by the community to be captured, treated and returned to Lake Mead (at a 99% efficiency rate) via a regional water recycling system. Given this and other ongoing efforts by the Southern Nevada Water Authority, the community is well-positioned to adapt to potential future water stress. At our Las Vegas properties, over 75% of water is returned to Lake Mead for reuse. We are also committed to conservation, with a special emphasis on consumptive water use. Between 2007 and 2021, MGM Resorts reduced water use by 37% and avoided use of 5.6 billion gallons through conservation and water-efficient building design.

Examples of our approaches to help mitigate risk include:

  • Investing in water-efficient equipment and retrofits, including modern and water-efficient cooling towers
  • Converting real grass to drought-tolerant landscaping
  • Diversifying water withdrawal sources (utility water, well water, rainwater)

Water Metrics & Goals

At MGM Resorts, primary water-related metrics, goals, and targets are based on water efficiency. Specifically, our primary set focus on enterprise-level water withdrawal reduction on an efficiency basis. Other water-related goals are project-specific. For example, in 2021 we met a goal to replace over 200,000 square feet of real grass with drought-tolerant landscaping across Las Vegas Strip resorts. Additionally, MGM Cotai met a 12% recycled water target as part of achieving the China Green Building (Macau) Design Label, capturing rainwater for use in cooling towers and horticulture areas. 

Primary Water-related Goals:

  • Reduce water withdrawal intensity by 33% by 2025 (2007 baseline, global)
  • Reduce water withdrawal intensity by 35% by 2030 (2007 baseline, global)

Other Water-related Goals:

  • Replace 200,000 square feet of real grass with drought-tolerant landscaping in Las Vegas
  • Achieve 12% recycled water at MGM Cotai

Find our detailed Social Impact & Sustainability performance and progress, see our Social Impact & Sustainability Metrics and Goals 2021 disclosure.

Implementation of Water Stewardship

MGM Resorts is committed to using water responsibly across our operations and supply chain. We aim to drive long-term water efficiency through our design choices by optimizing water systems, implementing water conservation measures and integrating water recycling features. Ongoing practices, including water-efficient behavior, are also important in maintaining our company’s water security. Finally, we are committed to collective action for water stewardship in the communities in which we operate and beyond.

Water Measurement

We prioritize measurement and monitoring of water inputs, outputs and risk exposure to enable data-driven decision making.

Utility-Level Reporting

Effective water management requires a systems approach to understand water use in individual facilities and organizations. MGM Resorts utilizes a centrally managed database which captures utility invoice data and readily shows spend and volume trends.

Building System Monitoring

Systems-level metering is necessary to provide critical end-user data to identify additional areas of opportunity and water-use hotspots. MGM Resorts has conducted pilot submetering programs such as the pool monitoring project at Bellagio that have resulted in water savings and real-time consumption insights. MGM Resorts is currently in the process of installing advanced submeters on the inflow and outflow points of all Las Vegas cooling tower banks to quantify evaporative water loss from cooling towers reliably.

Water Disclosure & Reporting

At MGM Resorts, transparency, comparability and usefulness are critical aspects of measurement. Disclosures are aligned with the prevailing third-party ESG disclosure standards, including Recommendations of the Task Force on Climate-related Financial Disclosures; industry-specific Sustainability Accounting Standards Board (SASB) standards (Now part of IFRS Foundation); and Global Reporting Initiative (GRI) standards. CDP Water Security is one of the world’s most detailed assessments of corporate water impacts and disclosures, employing a detailed and independent methodology and allocating a score of A to D-minus based on the comprehensiveness of disclosure, awareness and management of environmental risks and demonstration of best practices associated with environmental leadership.  In 2022, MGM Resorts was one of 57 companies to achieve a double-A rating on climate change and water security out of more than 15,000 scored. Click here for our latest CDP Water Security disclosure and here for the 2022 CDP A List.

Water Efficiency

We are committed to using water efficiently and implementing conservation measures to reduce water use in our direct operations and across our supply chain.

Water Efficient Building Design

We have made considerable progress with the installation of water efficient fixtures across all properties. We installed low-flow fixtures in both new development projects and existing property retrofits and have played a role in reducing MGM Resorts’ water withdrawal intensity by 37% since 2007. In addition, touchless fixtures are widely installed in both front- and back-of-house areas, further driving savings. Maintaining this progress has required the integration of fixture upkeep in the Zone Maintenance Program of each property to ensure connections do not leak and that timers and sensors are correctly calibrated.

Water Efficient Guest Operations

Housekeeping and laundry operations are a key focus in our ongoing water conservation efforts, and one in which guests can have a direct impact on water consumption. Our opt-out programs allow guests to reuse their towels and bedding, saving water by reducing laundry volumes. Guest room attendants also play a role in overall water efficiency by flushing toilets and running sinks and showers only when necessary in cleaning. Ongoing training ensures continuation of these guest-facing water savings.


Water Efficient Chemical Management

Pools, cooling towers and other water bodies must be filtered and chemically treated to prevent the buildup of particulate matter and harmful organic compounds. As demonstrated by the pool metering project at Bellagio, significant water savings are realized by ensuring pools and other water bodies are not prematurely flushed. In cooling towers, water leaves behind a concentration of dissolved solids (e.g., mineral deposits) and process chemicals as it evaporates. These deposits reduce the tower’s cooling efficiency and eventually must be flushed and the water replaced. MGM Resorts works closely with its chemical and water treatment partners to ensure cooling tower water is optimized for as long as possible before.

Water Efficient Irrigation

The lush landscapes across our resorts are a visible point of water consumption. All water used in landscaping is consumptive and removed from municipal water systems via evaporation, transpiration or absorption. By 2021, we replaced over 200,000 square feet of grass with artificial turf and drought-tolerant plants to reduce consumptive water use. Horticulture programs utilize native and adapted plants to further reduce irrigation demand. Alternatives are currently being explored for the non-functional turf at Shadow Creek, MGM Resorts’ premier golf course.

Water Efficient Evaporative Systems

Mechanical systems used to heat and cool resorts significantly impact water efficiency. Our large-scale cooling applications use cooling towers, which evaporate water to extract heat energy and release it into ambient air. Since evaporation is the primary function of a cooling tower, reducing water volumes lost to evaporation is not typically targeted in water conservation efforts. Drift, the quantity of water carried away as mist or water droplets before it can evaporate, is a form of cooling tower water loss that can be targeted with drift eliminators. We are working towards replacing cooling towers at their end-of-life with models that can drastically reduce drift losses. For example, through a comprehensive program, we enhanced the efficiency of our Las Vegas cooling towers by increasing the cycles of concentration from 2.5 to 5, yielding water savings of up to 50%.

Water Recycling

We believe that climate change adaptation goes beyond the energy pillar. We invest in water recycling at the time of Design & Development to diversify our water sources throughout the life cycle of our resorts and entertainment venues. This is essential in increasing our resilience to water stress and decreasing future demand for water. Additionally, regional water recycling in Southern Nevada recycles virtually all water that goes back down the drain. In Southern Nevada, approximately 40% of water is continuously reused via this water recycling system. At MGM Resorts, over 75% of our water use at our Las Vegas Strip Resorts is returned to Lake Mead for reuse.

Examples include:

  • More than 90% of the water of the Shark Reef Aquarium at Mandalay Bay is reused
  • Fountains of Bellagio use an onsite well and pool water from the 'O’ Theater' as source water

Water Quality

We recognize the importance of maintaining water quality standards in our operations and across supply chain and implement measures to safeguard water quality.

Water Quality Monitoring

We rely on potable water to deliver hospitality and entertainment experiences to our guests. We often exceed compliance and integrate water quality monitoring as a standard business practice across our resorts and entertainment venues.

Examples include:

  • Compliance with regulations by monitoring the quality of water withdrawals
  • Daily monitoring of potable water systems for employees and guests
  • Regular evaluation of water quality for pools, spas, drinking fountains and water dispensers


Water Treatment

If managed poorly, wastewater poses a severe pollution risk to natural water sources. While our properties discharge wastewater directly to municipal wastewater treatment plants, we are committed to exceeding compliance and implementing wastewater treatment practices to minimize the pollution levels of our wastewater before entering sewers.

Examples include:

  • Install water conditioning systems to improve the drinking quality of our water
  • Direct discharge of wastewater to municipal wastewater treatment plants
  • Leverage interceptors to pre-treat water relevant to recycling docks, automotive work, cooking oil and degreasers

Water Citizenship

We endeavor to raise ambition around water stewardship through stakeholder and community outreach in the communities in which we operate, our watersheds and globally.

Water Innovation Through WaterStart

Our partnership with WaterStart helps identify our water technology needs and recruits companies with innovative technology and process solutions to address those needs. By participating in this partnership, we are supporting not only our own water progress, but that of other companies as well.

Learn More

Water, Sanitation & Health Services at MGM Resorts

Recognizing water as a fundamental human right, we are committed to improving water quality and accessibility in our business and encouraging good practices from our partners across the supply chain. Facilities across our global operations provide Water, Sanitation, and Hygiene (WASH) services to employees and guests, in compliance with all applicable sanitation and hygiene-related laws and regulations at our properties. We support WASH services in communities in which we operate and donated nearly 50,000 hygiene kits to local charities in 2021.

Water-related Convenings

In October 2021, MGM Resorts hosted the Southern Nevada Water Authority’s Water Stewardship Executive Summit at Bellagio Hotel and Casino. The summit’s purpose was to ask for commitment, collective action and leadership on the critical water issue and included key executive leadership in Southern Nevada, hospitality peers and other large organizations. Members from the Southern Nevada Water Authority and Las Vegas Valley Water District updated attendees on the status of water resources, discussed key conservation initiatives and solicited ideas on how to optimize the community’s water supply.

Water Culture

We recognize the importance of creating a culture around water conservation and engaging each of our stakeholder groups.

Guest Engagement on Water

We focus our guest engagement strategy on guest room water use.

Examples include:

  • Participation in linen and towel reuse
  • Detailing water use for convention clients in event impact reports
  • In-room messaging of positive environmental behaviors



Employee Engagement on Water

We are committed to increasing employee awareness of water issues. In 2022 we launched MGM Planet Protectors, an employee network group (ENG) with a vision that every leader can be an environmental champion through environmental education and volunteerism. Regular activities (1) build an educational foundation of environmental sustainability (2) provide a forum for involvement in environmental initiatives and (3) create a network of environmental champions across the company. A monthly training series has featured experts from the Desert Research Institute and The Nature Conservancy, among others. A trail cleanup at Springs Preserve in May 2022 resulted in a new record with more than 90 bags of trash collected from the Las Vegas Wash.  

Supplier Engagement on Water

Water is a critical input in our value chain, particularly for agricultural products, linen and terry items and laundry services. We engage suppliers on their water conservation approaches, encouraging water conservation, sharing best practices, requesting information and data and hosting ongoing meetings to understand supplier efficiency measures. Please see our Supplier Code of Conduct for additional details on supplier engagement.

Water Spotlights

Spotlight features from MGM Resorts commitment to using water responsibly:


The Fountains of Bellagio

Alternative Water Supply

Lake Bellagio and the Fountains of Bellagio are a Las Vegas icon and one of the city’s most popular attractions.  Several times each day, the 8.5-acre man-made lake shoots streams of water into the air from 1,214 jets. Lake Bellagio is fed from two sources: (1) groundwater via well water rights controlled by Bellagio (300-acre feet) and (2) pool drainage from the “O” Show twice per year to make up for surface water evaporation. This avoids the use of critical Colorado River water and continues to contribute to Las Vegas tourism, attracting travelers from across the world.



MGM National Harbor

Rainwater Harvesting

At MGM National Harbor, the roof is designed to collect rainwater and send it to a 700,000-gallon cistern. The harvested rainwater is stored, treated and used for cooling and other purposes, reducing our reliance on municipal water sources.


Shadow Creek Golf Course

Efficient Irrigation Practices

In a typical year, golf courses in southern Nevada are responsible for approximately 6% of the community’s total consumptive water use. Given the ongoing drought conditions in southern Nevada and the southwest, golf courses are subject to water shortage mandates, including water budgets. As such, Shadow Creek Golf Course is taking steps to limit its consumptive water use.

Examples include:

  • Diversifying water sources. Approximately half of the water used at Shadow Creek comes from private wells
  • Implementing wetting agents to reduce water usage for irrigation
  • Installing drip irrigation on all trees to limit overhead irrigation sprinkler usage, reducing water use in low-maintenance areas by up to 30%
  • Using soil moisture sensor monitoring to provide only what is required for plant sustainability
  • Using weather stations to provide real-time weather data, ensuring smart, data-based water requirement decisions
  • Pursuing turf reduction and conversion in rough areas to low water use areas
  • Completing all irrigation at night or early morning to reduce evaporative loss

Water Security in Southern Nevada

Given our presence in Las Vegas, we recognize that the health of the Colorado River Basin is paramount. The Colorado River, spanning 1,450 miles, serves approximately 40 million people in Mexico and the United States, including Arizona, California, Colorado, New Mexico, Nevada, Utah and Wyoming. Across these jurisdictions, Colorado River water is used for agricultural, residential, commercial and industrial activities. While the river is stressed, with more water leaving the watershed than entering, the Southern Nevada Water Authority has taken steps to adapt to stressed conditions, including Lake Mead facility improvements, water conservation programming and interstate collaboration.

Commitment to Corporate Water Stewardship

Given our presence in Las Vegas, we recognize that the health of the Colorado River Basin is paramount. The Colorado River, spanning 1,450 miles, serves approximately 40 million people in Mexico and the United States, including Arizona, California, Colorado, New Mexico, Nevada, Utah and Wyoming. Across these jurisdictions, Colorado River water is used for agricultural, residential, commercial and industrial activities. While the river is stressed, with more water leaving the watershed than entering, the Southern Nevada Water Authority has taken steps to adapt to stressed conditions, including Lake Mead facility improvements, water conservation programming and interstate collaboration.

Our Approach

Environmental, Social and Governance (ESG)

We operate with integrity and strategic focus.

Fostering Diversity, Equity and Inclusion

We are committed to an inclusive and diverse culture for our employees, guests, community partners and stakeholders.

Protecting the Planet

We work to ensure our operations are environmentally sustainable.

Investing in Our Communities

We are invested in growing and supporting strong communities.

More Information

Social Impact & Sustainability Reports

Each year we are proud to showcase these commitments by highlighting the work we do today and the goals we aim to achieve.

ESG Policies

We have a number of ESG-related policies in place to formalize and operationalize our efforts.

ESG Disclosures

In addition to our company’s self-selected metrics and goals, we also provide disclosures aligned to a number of prevailing third-party ESG frameworks.

Awards and Recognition

MGM Resorts International is honored when organizations recognize our Company’s efforts in diversity, philanthropy and environmental sustainability.