Nevada lawmakers are considering legislation that will give water managers the authority to restrict the amount of water available for residential use, a proposal that comes as worsening drought conditions and climate change have depleted the Colorado River reservoirs.
The proposed bill would make Nevada the first state to allow a water agency, the Southern Nevada Water Authority, to shut off water use for single-family residences that use more than half an acre-foot of water, roughly 163,000 gallons, each year.
Representatives from the water agency, which serves the Las Vegas metropolitan area, told state lawmakers this week that the measure would only impact the top 20% of Las Vegas water users. The average customer in the Las Vegas Valley uses 130,000 gallons per year.
The water agency would not impose residential restrictions right away but rather if drought conditions and water shortages at the Colorado River continued to get worse. The agency has not yet decided how it would enforce the proposed limits too.