New legislation signed into law by Gov. Steve Sisolak will help advance Southern Nevada’s water conservation goals and water efficiency efforts.
Backed by the Southern Nevada Water Authority (SNWA), local municipalities, and business and environmental organizations, AB356 prohibits the use of Colorado River water delivered by the SNWA and its member agencies to irrigate non-functional grass—such as grass in streetscapes, medians, parking lots, traffic circles and other areas where it is used for aesthetics and not recreational purposes— by the end of 2026. The law applies to commercial properties, HOAs and multi-family housing developments; it does not apply to grass at single-family homes, nor recreational grass found at schools and parks throughout the community.
“We’re extremely appreciative of Gov. Sisolak and the Nevada Legislature for approving this measure, which will enable the community to expand on its commitment to conserving water in the face of ongoing drought conditions and climate change,” said SNWA General Manager John Entsminger.
Passage of the law comes at a critical time, as the federal government recently declared a water shortage declaration on the Colorado River—the source of 90 percent of the community’s water supply. The shortage, sated to take effect in January 2022, will reduce the amount of water the community can take from Lake Mead by 7 billion gallons per year.
By upgrading unused grass to water smart landscaping, Southern Nevada will save more than 9.5 billion gallons of water annually, or about 10 percent of its annual supply drawn from the Colorado River at Lake Mead.
Businesses and community associations that replace unused grass with water-efficient landscaping may qualify for cash incentives under the SNWA’s Water Smart Landscapes Rebate program (WSL). Through WSL, the SNWA provides a cash incentive of up to $3 per square foot of turf removed and replaced with drip-irrigated plants, trees, and shrubs.
Entsminger said the legislation was needed to help spur the community into additional action to reduce non-functional grass landscapes and conserve water resources.
“Replacing non-functional turf will allow for more sustainable and efficient use of resources, build resiliency to climate change, and help ensure the community’s current and future water needs continue to be met,” Entsminger said.
WSL is one of many SNWA incentive programs and ordinances geared to encouraging water conservation throughout the community. These include mandatory seasonal watering schedules and fines levied against property owners who waste water. To learn more, visit snwa.com.
The SNWA is a not-for-profit regional entity that manages water conservation, water quality and water resource issues for Southern Nevada. Its members include: the Big Bend Water District (Laughlin); the cities of Boulder City, Henderson, Las Vegas and North Las Vegas; the Clark County Water Reclamation District; and the Las Vegas Valley Water District.
SNWA 702-862-3740 or snwa.com