Water banking works like a savings
account for water.
Like a savings account, groundwater banking provides the Southern Nevada Water Authority (SNWA) the ability to store water for future use. Through several programs and agreements, SNWA “banks” groundwater as a reserve supply.
The Water Authority does not anticipate using any of its banked resources in the near future, although they are available for use if needed to meet short-term gaps.
Banked water resources provide a critical tool to meet water demands during a shortage. SNWA currently has three water banking projects.
Under an agreement with Arizona, Nevada may pay Arizona to store unused Colorado River water for future use. Arizona stores the available water in an underground aquifer, and Nevada receives credits for the water stored in the Arizona Water Bank. Should Nevada need to withdraw a portion of this water, it uses its storage credits and withdraws a portion of Arizona’s Colorado River water directly from Lake Mead.
Through an agreement, SNWA may store a portion of Nevada’s unused Colorado River water in a Southern California groundwater aquifer until it is needed as part of the California Water Bank agreement.
Since 1987, SNWA and two member agencies have pumped treated Colorado River water into the valley’s groundwater aquifer. Through the Southern Nevada Water Bank program, more than 330,000 acre-feet (roughly 104 billion gallons) of water has been stored in the local groundwater basin for future use.
Copyright © 2015 Southern Nevada Water Authority