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Southern Nevada Water Authority

Southern Nevada Water Bank

Southern Nevada Water Bank

Like a savings account, groundwater banking provides the Southern Nevada Water Authority (SNWA) the ability to store water for future use. In years when Nevada’s Colorado River allocation exceeds demand, water may be stored in the Las Vegas Valley Groundwater Basin.

This banked water serves as a reserve supply and helps maintain water levels in the northwest part of the valley.

Beginning in 1987, the City of North Las Vegas and the Las Vegas Valley Water District – both SNWA agencies – began pumping treated Colorado River water into the valley’s primary groundwater aquifer.

The two agencies have stored more than 330,000 acre-feet (more than 104 billion gallons) of water in the local groundwater basin for future use.

Artificial Recharge

The process by which this water is stored is called “artificial recharge.” It is considered “artificial” because water in the principal groundwater aquifer normally originates from mountain snow pack. The Southern Nevada Groundwater Bank is comprised of treated Colorado River water injected directly into the aquifer via wells.

Permanent Recharge

While the Southern Nevada Water Bank is a resource upon which the community can draw in times of need, SNWA also sponsors a permanent recharge program to protect the groundwater aquifer. Through this permanent recharge program known as the Las Vegas Valley Groundwater Management Program, SNWA has stored 9,303 acre-feet of water.

This recharge water is not intended for future use, but helps manage the groundwater aquifer for well users. The recharge water also helps maintain stable water levels and reduce the likelihood of subsidence and well failures.