Water banking works like a savings
account for water.
Like a savings account, water banking provides the Southern Nevada Water Authority (SNWA) the ability to store water for future use. Through several programs and agreements, SNWA “banks” water as a reserve supply.
Banked water resources provide a critical tool to meet water demands during a shortage and provide interim supplies while other resources are being developed. SNWA currently has three water banking projects, which store nearly six years worth of Nevada's Colorado River allocation.
SNWA has stored approximately 601,000 acre-feet (AF) of Colorado River water underground in Arizona's aquifers for SNWA's future use.
For SNWA to recover this water, Arizona will utilize the banked water and forgo use of a like amount of Colorado River water. The SNWA will then divert the water from facilities at Lake Mead. SNWA can recover up to 40,000 acre-feet per year (AFY) during any supply condition and may recover up to 60,000 AFY during a declared shortage.
Between 2004 and 2012, SNWA entered into various agreements that allow it to store Nevada's unused Colorado River water in California. As of 2014, Nevada has banked more than 205,000 AF of water in California and can recover up to 30,000 AFY during normal and shortage conditions, subject to agreement terms.
Beginning in 1987, the Las Vegas Valley Water District and later the City of North Las Vegas – both SNWA agencies – began pumping treated Colorado River water into the valley’s primary groundwater aquifer in years when Nevada’s Colorado River allocation exceeded demand.
As of 2014, SNWA has accumulated approximately 337,000 AF of water stored in the Las Vegas Valley aquifer for future use through an agreement with the Las Vegas Valley Water District.
SNWA may recover water banked under this agreement in any water supply condition.
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