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Southern Nevada Water Authority

Colorado River Conservation

Colorado River System

SNWA has worked extensively with Colorado
River Basin partners to mitigate drought
impacts on a regional level.

In response to the worst drought on record, the Southern Nevada Water Authority (SNWA) has worked extensively with Colorado River Basin partners to develop, implement and continue programs to mitigate drought impacts on a regional level.

Colorado River System Conservation Pilot Program
The SNWA, Department of the Interior and other Colorado River water users have committed to fund up to $14 million in 2015 and 2016 for water conservation projects that will benefit the Colorado River system by conservng additional water in Lake Powell and Lake Mead. In accordance with a 2014 agreement, project partners evaluate and select projects, compensating users for voluntary water use reductions. Projects being considered include land fallowing, split season irrigation, irrigation efficiency, desalination, reuse, and municipal conservation, among others.

Memorandum of Understanding
In an effort to establish pilot drought response actions, the SNWA, along with other Lower Basin partners and the Bureau of Reclamation, entered into a Memorandum of Understanding (MOU) in December 2014. The goal of the MOU is for the participating entities to voluntarily develop a combined total of 750,000 acre-feet of additional water, or "protection volume," between 2014 and 2017 to reduce the risk of Lake Mead reaching critically low elevations. The SNWA's commitment to the program is 45,000 acre-feet. These commitments are the first step in achieving a larger goal of 1.5 to 3 million acre-feet of protection volume before 2020.

Minute 323 to the 1944 Treaty
Minute 323 defines Colorado River water deliveries to Mexico under high- and low-reservoir conditions and permits storage of Mexico's deferred Colorado River water deliveries in Lake Mead. The minute also allows U.S. water agencies to invest in water efficiency projects in Mexico and, in turn, receive a share of the water saved. For its contribution to the program, SNWA receives more than 27,000 acre-feet of water to meet the Southern Nevada community's future water needs. Overall, the provisions outlined in Minute 323 will help bolster water levels in Lake Mead, delay potential shortage conditions on the river, and provide more certainty for Colorado River water users.


Video: Drought and Water Resources


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

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