AWE Charter Sponsor Profile

Southern Nevada Water Authority

2008-05-06

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Serving a fast-growing population of two million people in North America’s driest city, the Southern Nevada Water Authority (SNWA) and its member agencies rely on innovation, ingenuity and a spirit of collaboration to continue providing the region with a sustainable water supply.

The SNWA—a regional water agency supporting the greater Las Vegas, Nevada area—administers one of the nation’s most aggressive and comprehensive water efficiency programs. The multi-faceted program utilizes educational, regulatory and incentive programs to maximize results.

These efforts have yielded impressive water savings on both an annual and cumulative basis. In 2007, SNWA customers used approximately 15 billion gallons less water than in 2002, despite the addition of more than 400,000 new residents since that time and nearly 40 million annual visitors.

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Through regional collaboration with as many as eight local agencies, the SNWA and its member agencies have implemented uniform water efficiency policies throughout the metropolitan area, including mandatory watering schedules; policies requiring water efficient landscapes; restrictions on wasting water and increasing-block water rate structures.

The SNWA’s conservation efforts primarily emphasize more efficient use of water outdoors, particularly in landscapes, which account for more than half of the community’s consumption. Among the most successful initiatives of its kind in the world, the SNWA’s Water Smart Landscapes (WSL) rebate program helps water customers offset the costs associated with converting grass landscapes to water-efficient landscapes that use 75 percent less water. Since inception in 1999, the Water Smart Landscapes program has helped the community replace more than 100 million square feet of grass, saving nearly 24 billion gallons of water.

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The SNWA also offers incentives for more efficient irrigation equipment. By printing a “self-serve” coupon from their personal computer, residents can obtain up to a 50 percent discount on rain sensors and “smart” irrigation controllers that automatically adjust their watering schedules based on weather conditions.

Partnerships are a critical component of the SNWA’s efforts to strengthen the region’s conservation ethic. The agency has successfully partnered with the swimming pool and spa industry, car wash industry, landscape contractors and new home builders to demonstrate how water efficiency can be good for business.

Sienna-golf-PortraitWhen it comes to entertainment Las Vegas has a reputation for excess, but even the valley’s golf courses and resorts have made significant contributions to resource efficiency. In fact, Las Vegas’ mega resorts are typically more water-efficient on a per-guest basis than a traditional chain motel. In addition to their inherent efficiencies of scale, Las Vegas’ premiere resorts use some of the highest efficiency fixtures, equipment and processes in their operations.

The region’s golf courses have also responded to the call for greater efficiency, complying with aggressive water budgeting policies and voluntarily replacing more than 500 acres of grass with desert-adapted plantings. With some of the most qualified staff in the world, Las Vegas’ golf industry has shown they can be more efficient while still maintaining some of the world’s most sought after links.

As one of the fastest growing cities in the nation, new development presents more of an efficiency opportunity than a challenge. The SNWA collaborated with the Southern Nevada Home Builders Association to develop the nation’s largest water efficiency program for new homes. The Water Smart Home program has built almost 7,000 homes that tout landscaping, appliances and fixtures that exceed national water efficiency standards.

nv-linen-smFor large industries, the SNWA’s Water Efficient Technologies (WET) program provides financial incentives for large-scale institutional, commercial, multi-family and industrial customers to invest in capital water-efficiency upgrades. The WET program allows businesses to define their own water-efficiency upgrades and be paid an incentive on a performance basis.

Through the WET program, local businesses have completed projects that produced cumulative water savings of more than 1.2 billion gallons, while receiving more than $1 million in incentives.

For more information on these and other water conservation efforts, visit www.snwa.com.