Nevada mulls plan to limit water for Las Vegas residents

Henderson, Nevada, Wednesday, July 20, 2022 There is a home with a swimming pool next to the desert on the edge of the Las Vegas Valley.

John Locher | Associated Press

Nevada lawmakers are considering legislation giving water managers the power to limit residential water use, a proposal that comes as worsening drought conditions and climate change have depleted Colorado River reservoirs.

this proposed bill Would make Nevada the first state to allow the water agency (Southern Nevada Water Authority) to shut off water to single-family homes that use more than half an acre-foot (approximately 163,000 gallons) per year.

Representatives of water agencies serving the Las Vegas metro area told state lawmakers this week that the measure would only affect the top 20 percent of Las Vegas water users. The average customer in the Las Vegas Valley uses 130,000 gallons per year.

The water agency will not impose residential restrictions immediately, but rather if dry conditions and water shortages in the Colorado River continue to worsen. The agency has not yet decided how to enforce the proposed restrictions.

“It does address the top 20 percent of customers who are using more water, but doesn’t make the changes needed to protect our communities,” said Andy Bellanger, director of public services for the Southern Nevada Water Authority. water supply.” Tell General Assembly Natural Resources Committee on Monday.

While the Colorado River has long been overallocated, climate change has exacerbated drought conditions in the region, while levels at the country’s two largest reservoirs, Lake Mead and Lake Powell, have reached record lows.

Las Vegas depends on the Colorado River for 90 percent of its water supply. Nevada has lost about 8 percent of its Colorado River water supply due to federally mandated cuts.

Nevada has some of the strictest conservation policies in the region, including laws banning decorative grass and limiting the size of new swimming pools in the Las Vegas area.

seven states taken from the colorado river no agreement so far About voluntary water reduction. A coalition of six states submitted a proposal outlining ways to reduce water use, while California, the largest user of the Colorado River, released a separate plan.

Failure to reach a deal could prompt further federal spending cuts. The Biden administration has urged Colorado River Basin states to conserve between 2 million and 4 million acre-feet of water, or a third of the river’s average flow.

Water cuts ordered in Arizona, Nevada as drought intensifies

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