New Water Chief Lays Out Plans for S. Nevada's Water Future - 8 News NOW

New Water Chief Lays Out Plans for S. Nevada's Water Future

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LAS VEGAS -- The American Southwest has a water crisis that is not going away.

The new man in charge of the Las Vegas Valley Water District says if southern Nevada follows his steps, it should have enough water to last through the years and years of drought.

Most of southern Nevada's water comes from the Colorado River. Officials negotiated with other states for the rights to use that water, and under the deal southern Nevada gets 300,000 acre feet of water per year, which is hardly anything compared to other states that use the river.

The newest general manager of the Las Vegas Valley Water District met with dozens of community leaders Tuesday to show them his plans for the future and his plans to promote transparency.

John Entsminger says the Southwest is facing a potential disaster relating to water, one equivalent to Hurricane Katrina or Superstorm Sandy.

He says the climate is changing, and the region is losing water every year.

"I don't have to tell people in this room about the drought. We can look in our backyard. We can see the bathtub ring around Lake Mead. We can see that it is down 100 feet this century," Entsminger said.

He is not trying to scare people but is giving them the facts about how difficult it is to keep water flowing in the southern Nevada desert.

His plan includes three steps: conserve water, get more of it and secure the water district's current facilities.

"To secure our infrastructure and finish the third intake and secure the water that we need to have," Entsminger said.

You might notice a rate hike starting this year of a dollar a month on your water bill, which is paying for the water district's infrastructure, offsetting a $3 billion debt for construction.

Conservation is the biggest thing everyone can do, even people who are not conscious of conserving water get help through their homes' plumbing.

Las Vegas has the only system in the country that can funnel water from the drain, back into Lake Mead and trade that waste water for clean drinking water.

The reason Entsminger was unanimously chosen last week to take over as head of the water district was his ability to negotiate with other states for a piece of the Colorado River.

Many people believe the big hotels or water features use up most of southern Nevada's water, but the reality is outdoor irrigation for lawns takes up the most water.

According to the Southern Nevada Water Authority, about 60 percent of the Las Vegas valley's water is used on grass.

For instance, the Las Vegas National Golf Course alone has so much grass, in the summer it takes up to a million gallons of water a day to keep green.

Entsminger wants to continue the Water Smart Landscape program where people are paid to voluntarily trade in their lawn for a desert landscape.

Nearly a thousand acres of Las Vegas golf courses have converted to Water Smart Landscaping, saving about 2 billion gallons of water annually.

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