Nevada’s 82nd legislative session ended June 5 and resulted in a new law – Assembly Bill 220 – to help reduce water use in Southern Nevada. Assembly Bill 220 supports many of Southern Nevada Water Authority’s (SNWA) conservation-related initiatives as we contend with a severe 20+ year drought on the Colorado River.

This includes laying the foundation for a financial assistance program for municipal water customers with an existing septic tank to voluntarily convert to the sewer system, requiring WaterSense irrigation controllers to be installed in new development, and ensuring that developers have a reliable water source before building new homes. The septic tank conversion program is particularly key because those households are the only ones in the greater Las Vegas Valley that don’t currently have the ability to recycle their indoor water use.

Assembly Bill 220 also gives SNWA the ability to limit water use at single family homes to half an acre-foot per year (about 163,000 gallons) during certain federal shortage conditions – more than what most homes in the region currently use. The restrictions could go into effect only if the federal government reduces Nevada’s Colorado River allocation severely to 270,000 acre feet, and if the SNWA Board of Directors votes to impose the limitation.

Assembly Bill 220 is an extremely meaningful piece of legislation. It will help continue our community’s legacy across the nation and world as a leader in water conservation and responsible resource management.