Critically low reservoir prompts U.S. officials to cut Nevada’s water allotment by 8%. What will this mean for you?

A worsening drought in states across the West is leading to lower water levels in the Colorado River and in the country’s most prominent reservoirs.
Published: Aug. 16, 2022 at 8:38 PM PDT
Email This Link
Share on Pinterest
Share on LinkedIn

LAS VEGAS, Nev. (FOX5) - A worsening drought in states across the West is leading to lower water levels in the Colorado River and in the country’s most prominent reservoirs, Lake Mead and Lake Powell. Because of this, on Tuesday, U.S. officials announced they would be cutting back water allotments for certain states in the Southwest, including Nevada.

Arizona is facing a 21% cut in Lake Mead water allotment, Nevada faces an 8% cut, and Mexico, a 7% cut. The changes will go into effect during the 2023 calendar year.

Still, despite the cut to Nevada’s portion, a spokesperson for the Las Vegas Valley Water District said that this should not have any impact on the daily lives of Nevadans next. That is largely because Nevadans already use far less water than what the state is being allocated.

“For the average resident, as a result of the announcement that was made today, you’re not really gonna see any change in the availability of water,” said Bronson Mack, Public Information Officer, Las Vegas Valley Water District.

Mack said in 2020, Nevada was allocated 300,000 acre-feet in Lake Mead water. This year, he said that number dropped down to 279,000, and when the changes go into effect in 2023, it will drop down to 275,000.

However, last year, Nevadans only used 242,000 acre-feet of their allotment, and Mack said they expect usage totals to either stay the same or decline in coming years due to ongoing conservation efforts.

“Our community, over the past two decades, has been engaged in water conservation, that’s prepared us to be able to absorb those shortages,” said Mack.

Mack said Nevadans have already been leading the way in conserving this water: the Silver State’s share of the water is smaller than other states in the Southwest.

“It’s the smallest share of the Colorado River pie of all of the seven states,” said Mack. “But that said, as a community, we are ratcheting up our water conservation efforts.”

Even prior to the latest announcement about water allotment cuts, there was already another plan in the works by Nevada water officials, according to Mack. In an effort to reduce water waste, he said rate hikes will go into effect for the biggest water users.

“Changes to that water rate structure, creating equal tiers,” said Mack, “Regardless of what your water meter size is.”

He added, “Those who have large water meters, they will definitely feel the effects of this. But for the vast majority of our customers... there would be no significant change there to their rate structure at all.”

Stay with FOX5 for details about water rate changes, as they are announced.