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Southern Nevada Water Authority

Drought

Drought

Lake Mead's water level has dropped
more than 100 feet since 2000.

The Colorado River system is facing the worst drought on record. The water level of Lake Mead, which serves as a reservoir, has dropped more than 100 feet since January 2000.

As Lake Mead water levels decline, there is a possible reduction of available Colorado River water for the community’s use. In addition, declining water levels create operating challenges for the water intake facilities, which is why the Southern Nevada Water Authority (SNWA) is constructing a third water intake deeper in Lake Mead.

Keeping Drought at Bay

Thanks largely to community compliance with permanent drought restrictions and participation in various water-efficiency programs, the Las Vegas Valley is continuing a trend of declining water use.

Southern Nevada's annual water consumption decreased by nearly 29 billion gallons between 2002 and 2012, despite a population increase of more than 400,000 during that span.

The SNWA Board of Directors established a conservation goal of 199 gallons per capita per day (GPCD) by 2035. Since 2002 when the drought response plan was first developed, Southern Nevada has reduced its GPCD demand from 314 GPCD to 219 GPCD in 2012. While recent economic conditions may be a factor in the GPCD reduction, much of this reduction in water use can be attributed to community conservation efforts.

Monitoring Drought Conditions

The Water Authority continually monitors conditions along the Colorado River, the source of the majority of our drinking water. SNWA is working with the other basin states that share the Colorado River to evaluate alternatives and find effective methods to manage the water supply. See the Water Resources Plan for more information.

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Video: Drought and Water Resources

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Learn how Southern Nevada is conserving water and protecting our water resources. Play

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