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Blue green waters of Lake Mead with mountains in the background

Water resource portfolio

The Water Authority has worked to establish and manage a flexible portfolio of water resources that can be used to meet the short- and long-term water needs of our community. Having a range of resources allows the Water Authority to assess its overall water resource options and to make decisions about which resources to develop and use when needed.

This approach provides the Water Authority with flexibility in adapting to changing supply and demand conditions, and helps to ensure community water demands can be met. Resources in the portfolio are organized into three categories – permanent, temporary, and future resources.

Details about permanent, temporary, and future resources in Southern Nevada can be found in Chapter 3 of the Water Resource Plan.

Permanent resources

Expected to be available to the Water Authority over its 50-year planning horizon, permanent resources make up a base of supplies that can be used during any Colorado River operating condition, including shortage. Permanent resources for Southern Nevada include:

  • Colorado River and return-flow credits
  • Intentionally Created Surplus (ICS)
  • Las Vegas Valley groundwater rights
  • Water reuse/recycled water

Temporary resources

Resources that have been "banked" or stored for future use are an important management tool that provides flexibility. They can be used to meet short-term gaps between supply and demand, and provide a bridge while future resources are being developed and include:

  • Southern Nevada Water Bank
  • California Water Bank
  • Arizona Water Bank
  • Intentionally Created Surplus (ICS)

Future resources

Resources expected to be available to the Water Authority at some point during its 50-year planning horizon include:

  • Desalination
  • In-state groundwater
  • Virgin River/Colorado River augmentation
  • Water transfers and exchanges with other states



Water conservation is a cost-effective resource that helps reduce current and future demand for water. Water conservation helps stretch our community's available water supplies, by freeing up water that is used inefficiently or wasted.