Engineering and construction resources
The Southern Nevada Water Authority builds and maintains an intricate system of intakes, water treatment facilities, pumping stations and pipelines to supply Southern Nevada with water.
Digital plans and inspections system
Use the Water Authority’s online digital plans and inspections system to submit project forms and requests online, obtain signatures, view the status of project reviews, and schedule project meetings.
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Improvements on land where water facilities are located
Occasionally, property owners and developers plan to make improvements, such as constructing parking lots or walkways, in areas where Water Authority facilities are located.
The Water Authority is charged with protecting these facilities, many of which are below ground, from being damaged. The authority does so through a process of reviews and inspections of proposed developments.
Approvals of proposed improvements
Proposed improvements must be pre-approved by the Water Authority’s Development Plan Review office. This includes developments taking place within the cities of Henderson, North Las Vegas and Boulder City, as well as areas served by the Las Vegas Valley Water District. The Water Authority must approve planned improvements before the proposed developments are approved by municipalities.
All work must be in accordance with the provisions of the existing easement and consistent with Water Authority standards. Usually, these provisions and standards define certain owner improvements as being either acceptable or prohibited.
- Parking lots
- Shallow-rooted landscaping
- Deep-rooted shrubs
Before starting construction work or alterations of any kind, developers or property owners must submit an application to the Water Authority’s Development Plan Review office for review and approval, using the Authority’s online digital plans and inspections system. For assistance, call Engineering Services at 702-822-8518 or email us.
After obtaining approval and before starting construction, call the "Call Before You Dig" hotline at 811 to determine the locations of existing utilities in the construction area, including Water Authority facilities. Calls to the hotline are free of charge.
A Water Authority transmission inspector will monitor the construction activities in the area where water facilities are located to ensure compliance with the approved plans.
Obtaining rights-of-way from property owners
When water facilities need to be constructed on areas of developed or undeveloped land in the Las Vegas Valley, the Water Authority first obtains permission from property owners. This process involves acquiring rights-of-way, otherwise known as easements, to install, maintain and operate pipelines and other facilities that will provide reliable water service to the community.
Before seeking an easement from a property owner, the Water Authority carefully studies all project elements to ensure that local, state and federal standards are met. Once alignments and locations of planned facilities have been determined, the necessary rights-of-way are identified and obtained.
The types of rights-of-way usually pursued by the Water Authority are permanent and temporary construction easements. Other types of rights may be needed in special situations. The following sections of content describe the most common types of right-of-way and the process used by the Water Authority to acquire them.
Permanent easements are a type of right-of-way usually obtained in areas where facilities will be constructed and maintained indefinitely. In the case of a permanent easement, the landowner retains title to the property, but grants exclusive rights to the Water Authority to access the specified area.
Temporary construction easements
A temporary construction easement may be needed for a specified period of time to provide additional working space during construction. No permanent facilities are installed in temporary construction easements. The landowner retains title to the property, but grants exclusive rights to the Water Authority to access the specified area during the stated time period. At the end of the specified time period, the Water Authority relinquishes its rights to the area.
How the process works
Once the Water Authority has determined a right-of-way is necessary, the owners of the related properties will be contacted to discuss the project requirements.
An offer package will be prepared and presented to the property owner and will include:
- Type of easement being requested
- Market value of the area as determined by an independent, licensed real estate appraiser
- A legal description of the area required
Upon acceptance of the offer, the Water Authority's Board of Directors also must approve the transaction. To finalize the transaction, all documents are signed by the land owner and are recorded in the County Recorder's Office.
In some cases, the Water Authority purchases sites for major facilities such as pumping stations and reservoirs. In this type of acquisition, the Water Authority obtains fee title to the property. Occasionally, the Water Authority leases land for temporary uses.
Rights-of-way and easements are purchased by the Water Authority for fair and just compensation. The value of a right-of-way is determined by appraisal, as obtained from an independent, licensed real estate appraiser. Any restrictions of the agreement are listed in the easement.
Responsibility for maintaining property
Property owners are responsible for maintaining their property and improvements within a Southern Nevada Water Authority right-of-way. The Water Authority will maintain only its facilities, many of which are buried and are not visible from the surface.
For questions about land acquisitions and rights-of-way, call 702-691-LAND or email us.
For more information about rights-of-way and easements, see Understanding Rights-of-Way and Easements: A Property Owner's Guide.