We all know the water level is low in Southern Nevada, and now there is a proposal on the docket that would give Southern Nevada water managers the ability to limit residential water use. This would only affect the top 20 percent of users in the Las Vegas Valley, representatives from the Southern Nevada Water Authority told state lawmakers Monday.
Assembly Bill 220 would give the Southern Nevada Water Authority the ability to limit residential water use in single-family homes to about 163,000 gallons annually during times when there is a water shortage. This bill would also set up a program to eventually convert thousands of homes with septic systems into the region’s municipal sewer system, which would ensure that more water can be recycled and sent back to Lake Mead rather than being lost to the ground.
Southern Nevada Water Authority public service director Andy Bellanger stated that the top 20 percent of users use more than 163,000 gallons annually. This would not impact the other 80 percent of customers in the valley. Are you aware that Southern Nevada still leads the entire nation in water conservation, and has done so for over 25 years?
Under the bill, the water authority could impose restrictions if the federal government declares a water shortage for the Colorado River. Since 2022, the river has been under a federally declared water shortage due to Lake Mead’s continued decline.
Despite the large amounts of snowfall in the mountains that feed the Colorado River this winter, the river’s largest reservoir, Lake Mead, is still expected to shrink in the coming years.
Several local governments in Southern Nevada, including Clark County, Las Vegas, North Las Vegas, and Henderson, as well as several environmental groups, supported the bill.
The majority of those who spoke in opposition criticized the septic tank conversion aspect of the proposed legislation. This segment of the population raised concerns about the costs of conversions for homeowners forced to link to municipal sewer systems.
The bill sets a deadline of 2054 for the conversions to take place, and it would set up a program in which at least half of the cost of converting septic systems to the municipal sewer system would be covered by the local governments.
The committee did not take any action on the bill.
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