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Southern Nevada Water Authority



Lake Mead's water level has dropped
more than 120 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 120 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 more than 32 billion gallons between 2002 and 2013, despite a population increase of nearly 500,000 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 total system GPCD demand from 314 GPCD to 205 GPCD in 2014. Southern Nevada has acheived a net GPCD of 118 in 2014.

"Net" GPCD includes all customer sectors, but refers only to the portion of water that is consumed by customers and unavailable for recycling through direct and indirect reuse. Total system GPCD reflects total water usage from all sources, including direct and indirect reuse.

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.


Video: Drought and Water Resources


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

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