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Preparing for the future

The Southern Nevada Water Authority (SNWA) is committed to ensuring that our community has the water resources necessary to meet water demands.

As part of our water resource planning efforts, we use population forecasts prepared by the University of Nevada, Las Vegas to project water demands 50 years into the future, which allows Southern Nevada’s regional water provider to identify the water resources necessary to supply projected water demands. This ensures our water resource strategies will meet the community’s water needs for the next half-century.

This approach to water resource planning allows us to adapt to changing and unpredictable conditions.

The Southern Nevada Water Authority's Water Resource Plan provides a comprehensive overview of the water resources and demands in Southern Nevada and describes our approach to forecasting and managing water demands and meeting long-term resource needs, including during times of declared shortages. The plan outlines the actions that have been taken, are under way now, and are planned to ensure that Southern Nevada has the water resources it needs well into the future.

In addition, we have used integrated resource planning to help guide future water resource planning for Southern Nevada by evaluating our resource development and management, facilities, funding, planning, conservation and water quality.

Scenario-based planning

SNWA has taken a scenario-based approach to water resource development, focusing on permanent, temporary and future resources. Our water resource portfolio includes a diverse set of resource options that will be used to reliably meet the community's current and future water resource needs.

For details about our water resource portfolio, see Chapter 3 of the Water Resource Plan.

Basin states study

A joint study released in December 2012 by the seven Colorado River Basin States and the U.S. Bureau of Reclamation outlines several options to reduce the potential impacts of water shortages on the river system.

The Colorado River Basin Water Supply and Demand Study offers the most thorough analysis of current and projected water supply and demand conducted to date.

The study projects a range of potential imbalances and identifies options and strategies to address the gap between supply and demand. It also factors in the effects of climate change, which may decrease average flows on the river by nearly 10 percent over the next 50 years.

Highlights of the study:

  • Addresses future water supplies and demands over next 50 years
  • Assesses the reliability of the Colorado River system to meet the needs of the system
  • Develops and evaluates options and strategies to address future water supply and demand imbalance
  • The projected impacts of water shortages on the river system are estimated at 3.2 million acre feet per year by 2060.
  • No single solution will adequately address the shortfall.
  • The study outlines a range of options and strategies that includes conservation, water reuse and system augmentation.
  • SNWA staff contributed to the study. Staff input included:
    • Providing statistical information
    • Identifying imbalances in the system
    • Recommending ideas to resolve the issues

View the Colorado River Basin Water Supply and Demand Study

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