The Colorado River is the water source for the majority of Southern Nevada's drinking water. Nevada is one of seven western states and Mexico sharing water rights to the Colorado River, and each entity is limited by law to an annual amount of water they can take from the river. Nevada's allocation is the smallest at only 300,000 acre feet, or about two percent of the total amount of available water. A decade-long drought in the upper Colorado River region has resulted in the lowest river flow levels since record-keeping began in 1906. The Colorado River supplies Lake Mead, the water storage reservoir that serves the lower basin states of Nevada, Arizona and California. These historically low flows from the Colorado River, in addition to increasing demands from all the states that rely on the river, have caused Lake Mead's elevation to drop by more than 100 feet in the last decade.
Persistent drought has shown us just how vulnerable our limited water resources are, and how important it is that we conserve water. The City of Henderson adopted the Southern Nevada Water Authority's Drought Plan on March 4, 2003, and integrated water conservation measures from the Drought Plan into the Henderson Municipal Code Title 14.14. that address:
- Seasonal watering schedules
- Tiered water rate structure
- Landscape development restrictions
- Golf course water budgeting
- Definitions for water waste
- Establishment of an administrative fine process for compliance to code
- Prohibitions of private covenants to prevent use of water efficient landscape
Ultimately, Southern Nevada is located in one of the driest deserts in the world, and water conservation is a necessary way of life in the desert.