look for
Saving Water in
Nevada is the driest state in the United States, with an average annual
precipitation rate of 9.5 inches. The southern region of Nevada accounts for
nearly three-quarters of the state's water demand and averages only four inches
of precipitation per year. The region's water demands are projected to increase
by 85 percent by 2065. Nevada's desert climate, growing population, and
ongoing drought conditions stress the state's existing water supply, making
water efficiency critical.
•	The Colorado River and other surface water
sources provide nearly 70 percent of Nevada's total
water supply. A series of federally constructed
reservoirs divert water to the seven states sharing
water from the Colorado River. Nevada is allocated
the smallest share, which is 1.8 percent of the total
apportionments. Ground water provides the
remaining 30 percent of Nevada's water supply.
•	Southern Nevada receives 90 percent of its water
supply from the Colorado River, accounting for the
bulk of Nevada's statewide allocation. The region
draws the river's water from Lake Mead, created
following completion of the Hoover Dam in 1935.
•	Most of Nevada's rivers are perennial and small, fed
by snowrnelt on the western slope of the Rocky
Mountains, which has been declining due to drought
conditions since 2000.
•	Due to drought conditions that the Colorado River
Basin has experienced since 2000, the water level
of Lake Mead had dropped 130 feet as of early
2016, or to about 40 percent of its storage capacity.
As water levels continue to drop, so does the
amount of Colorado River water available to Nevada
and Arizona.
•	If drought conditions persist and reservoir levels
continue to decline, Lake Mead's water levels are
forecasted to drop below 1,000 feet before 2025.
The existing intakes and pumping stations can only
draw water from Lake Mead for the public supply
when water levels are above 1,000 feet. To avert
significant impacts and costs, the Southern Nevada
Drought conditions have caused water levels in Nevada's
Lake Mead to decline, as seen by the changes highlighted
above between 2012 and 2014. (Source: SNWA Water
Resource Plan, 2015)
Water Authority (SNWA) built a new intake tunnel in
2015 and started construction on a new pumping
station that will allow it to draw water down to
elevations of 875 feet, approximately 20 feet below
the elevation at which the Hoover Dam can continue
to release water downstream.
• Nevada's population has been growing at a rate of
25 percent or more for the past three decades.
PHONE (866) WTR-SENS (987-7367) WEBSlTEwww.epa.gov/watersense EMAlLwatersense@epa.gov
rn/V EPA-832-F-16-001
WtlV"\ May 2016

Saving Water in Nevada
The state's 2010 population of 2.7 million is
projected to increase to 3.3 million by 2030.
•	By 2060, as a result of increased population and
potential drought conditions, the Colorado River
Basin's water demand could exceed supply by an
estimated 3.2 million acre-feet, which is more than
1.0 trillion gallons per year.
•	In 2014, Southern Nevada's gross water demand
was about 205 gallons per capita per day (GPCD).
In the region, single- and multi-family households
account for 60 percent of water consumption—70
percent of which is used for landscaping. While per
capita consumption has decreased from 314 GPCD
in 2003 to 205 in 2014, the region's goal is to further
reduce GPCD to 199 by 2035.
•	In 2015, the governor established a Nevada
Drought Forum of local water municipalities, state
government leaders, higher education
representatives, and climate experts to focus on
statewide drought policy, management, and
Many Nevada agencies and utilities belong to
WaterSense®, the U.S. Environmental Protection
Agency program that offers people a simple way to
identify products and homes that use less water and
perform well.
•	SNWA has undertaken significant efforts to promote
water conservation and manage regional water
resources. SNWA worked to decrease Colorado
River water consumption by 32 billion gallons
between 2002 and 2014, despite the addition of
520,000 people during those years, for a per capita
Abnormally Dry
Moderate Drought
Severe Drought
Extreme Drought
Exceptional Drought
As of October 2015, more than 76 percent of the state was
experiencing severe to exceptional drought conditions.
(Source: U.S. Drought Monitor)
water use reduction of 40 percent. Following are
just two of SNWA's initiatives:
o SNWA's Water Smart Landscape Rebate
program replaced nearly 174 million square feet
of ornamental lawns with water-efficient trees,
native plants, and low-volume irrigation
systems. An average of 3.4 billion gallons of
water were saved annually through this
program, reaching an estimated 88 billion
gallons since the program's inception in 1989.
o In homes and businesses, SNWA promotes
WaterSense labeled products. Its Water
Efficient Technologies (WET) program has
saved 1.4 billion gallons of water annually
through businesses, and its Water Smart Home
program for new construction has saved 900
million gallons of water annually.
For more information about water use and saving in
Nevada, visit drought.nv.gov and www.snwa.com.
References available by request. Contact watersensetcb.epa.gov for additional information.