For several years now, water officials and Las Vegas Valley residents have been doing their part to try to conserve the region’s most precious resource, in the face of an extended drought that has depleted Lake Mead. Thanks to recycling and conservation, net water use has dropped even as our population has increased.
But it’s apparent more steps are needed after news earlier this month of a historically dry February. As reported by the Review-Journal’s Henry Brean on March 14, federal forecasters downgraded their projections for the Colorado River due to a hot, dry month that has increased the likelihood of a first-ever shortage declaration at Lake Mead. That declaration is now predicted to arrive in January 2018.
On the bright side, that article was sandwiched between two more reports from Mr. Brean showing that the Southern Nevada Water Authority board considered and followed through on a proactive measure. On March 17, Mr. Brean reported that the SNWA barred the use of lawn sprinklers on Sundays during the summer, though other landscaping can still be watered.
The new rule is a smart move that shouldn’t cause consumers much trouble, either to adjust to or in maintaining their turf. And while it might seem to be a small measure, officials estimate that eliminating sprinkler use on Sundays between May 1 and Aug. 31 could save as much as 900 million gallons of water during the hottest part of the year — no small sum, to be sure. The water authority merits a green thumbs-up for its latest conservation policy, and though the rule is only voluntary this summer before a mandatory expectation in 2017, water users would do well to immediately abide by the measure.