Nevada Water Bill: How to Navigate Water Conservation
Water conservation is a critical issue in Nevada, affecting individuals, communities, and HOA board members. The State is grappling with the challenges of a growing population, limited water resources, and a hot and dry climate, making it imperative to ensure a sustainable water supply. To address this concern, the Nevada water bill incorporates laws and legislation, and the State has taken steps to restrict development. With water scarcity remaining a pressing concern, it is crucial to prioritize effective water saving measures for the security and long-term viability of Nevada.
What do board members need to know about the Nevada water bill?
Under Assembly Bill 356, recently signed into law by Nevada Governor Steve Sisolak, Southern Nevada will undergo a significant transformation in its landscaped areas. By the end of 2026, nearly one-third of all grass in the region will have to be removed. Furthermore, starting January 1, 2027, the Southern Nevada Water Authority will be prohibited from using water from the Colorado River to irrigate "nonfunctional turf". Water conservation has been a growing issue in Nevada in previous years, and according to the United States Environmental Protection Agency, “Due to drought conditions that the Colorado River Basin has experienced since 2000, the water level of Lake Mead had dropped 130 feet as of early 2016, or to about 40 percent of its storage capacity. As water levels continue to drop, so does the amount of Colorado River water available to Nevada and Arizona.”1 This landmark legislation is estimated to result in the removal of approximately 3,900 to 4,000 acres of nonfunctional grass.
Why should HOA board members be concerned about water conservation?
One of the biggest concerns HOA board members should have about water conservation is the cooperation (or the lack of cooperation) from residents. In order to tackle this issue effectively, board members should initiate transparent communication with residents regarding the challenges they face with the existing landscaping and water restrictions. Additionally, they should gradually replace turf with alternatives that are more efficient in terms of water usage. Neglecting to take these measures may result in the community losing access to water for their grass, leading to its degradation and a subsequent decrease in property value. For optimal results, board members should work closely with water conservation experts to develop a comprehensive plan that promotes water reduction within the community and supports long-term sustainability.
In addition to resident cooperation, as a board member or resident in a community, it's vital to recognize the potential consequences that come with declining water levels and the implementation of water tariffs. One particularly worrisome outcome is the need to completely cease water usage, which could have catastrophic effects on the surrounding landscape. Not only would this impact the visual appeal of the area, but it could also lead to a significant decrease in property values within the community. It is absolutely crucial for community members to comprehend the implications of water scarcity and collaborate on sustainable solutions to preserve both the environment and property investments.
What steps should HOA’s start taking to conserve water in their communities? Are there any consequences for not complying is the new Nevada water bill?
Communities can take a significant initial step to conserve water by eliminating turf, one of the main culprits behind excessive water consumption, particularly in underutilized areas. Maintaining turf requires year-round effort and resources, and due to climate change, it requires more water today to keep grass green. According to Jim Kauth, CLWM, CLIA, of Aqua Trac System, “In the past (prior to 2000), we needed 1.6 gallows of water per acre of turf. Now, it requires over 2.1 million gallons of water per acre of turf.” Some boards have already started taking steps to reduce the water usage in their communities. Janelle Fuhrmann, assistant manager at Aliante Master Association in North Las Vegas, Nevada, states, “We have 19 acres of property and have already begun doing several turf conversions throughout the entire community due to the upcoming 2027 law that requires the removal of all nonfunctional turf areas, such as spaces that are not suitable for playing or sitting. As a solution, our team has transformed certain areas into smaller parks by installing new recreational facilities.” As water becomes an increasingly valuable resource, adherence to these measures becomes more important than ever.
The new Nevada water bill brings with it significant consequences for those who fail to comply, with fines being the most prominent penalty. This legislation aims to address the pressing issue of water scarcity and conservation in the state. By imposing fines on non-compliant individuals or businesses, the government hopes to incentivize responsible water usage and minimize wastage. The severity of the fines serves as a deterrent, encouraging everyone to take the necessary steps to ensure compliance with the bill's regulations. In efforts to incentivize the removal of turf, the SNWA (Southern Nevada Water Association) offers the opportunity to receive rebates of $3 per square foot of grass removed.2 This means that individuals and businesses who take steps to reduce their water usage and implement sustainable practices can actually receive financial benefits. These rebates serve as a positive reinforcement for making conscious choices that contribute to the overall conservation goals of the state. By offering these incentives, the authorities hope to motivate more people to actively engage in water-saving initiatives and create a collective impact on water sustainability in Nevada.
Recognizing the pressing need to preserve water in Nevada, both individuals and communities are taking action. With a growing population and limited water resources, the state faces unique challenges that demand proactive solutions. Nevada has already implemented strict water laws and promoted responsible water usage, but the journey to ensuring a secure water supply is ongoing. It is crucial for all of us to remain dedicated to effective water conservation measures in order to guarantee a prosperous and sustainable future for Nevada. By making mindful choices today, we can collectively protect our water resources for future generations.
Disclaimer: This article is provided for information purposes only and does not constitute legal advice.
United States Environmental Protection Agency. 2016. “Saving Water in Nevada”. United States Environmental Protection Agency. https://www.leg.state.nv.us/App/NELIS/REL/81st2021/Bill/7910/Text
Southern Nevada Water Authority. 2023. “Water Smart Landscapes Rebate”. Southern Nevada Water Authority. https://www.snwa.com/rebates/wsl/index.html