LAS VEGAS (KLAS)– Making the most of our water, that’s the goal of the Colorado River Water Users Association (CRWUA) conference happening this week at Caesars Palace.

The CRWUA is a nonprofit made up of nearly a thousand members from seven states sharing the Colorado river.

Southern Nevada is already a global leader in water conservation. Just in the last year, the Las Vegas Valley Water District has tightened water restrictions.

John Entsminger, general manager of Southern Nevada Water Authority (SNWA) spoke at this year’s conference.

“This is a river that’s in crisis,” said Entsminger. “Everybody who’s lived here can see the bathtub ring around Lake Mead, but some of the other 40 million Americans who rely on the river don’t really realize how bad things are around the river. “

Nathan Allen is the executive director of Water Start, a local nonprofit finding several technological ways to extend water use.

He said a big focus is to continue to lead in water sustainability. This includes pushing incentive programs like turf removal and getting other states to adopt Southern Nevada’s practices.

“One example of technology we’re working with here in Southern Nevada is a technology that uses artificial intelligence to in real-time to plan out how water moves across the city,” Allen explained. “So you can make sure you can keep the cost of energy as low as you can while maintaining the quality of the water inside the pipe. Those are benefits that come back to the ratepayer and having more safer, cheaper water in the city.”

Other alternatives in the works are reducing evaporative cooling like swamp coolers while finding cost-effective ways to reduce that water without raising the consumer’s electric bill.

“So they built large cooling towers and that water evaporates out into the air and doesn’t get returned to Lake Mead so that we can reuse it again,” Allen said. “Now we need to come up with technologies that are cost competitive so we don’t increase our electric bill but so we reduce our water consumption and cool our buildings.”

Entsminger said this type of collaboration is crucial to develop strategies to address water management challenges.

“This is a situation we’ve been preparing for, for the last 20 years,” added Entsminger. “This isn’t sneaking up on us. We have added 780,000 new residents to Southern Nevada since 2002 and we’re using 26% less water than we were 20 years ago, so we’ve proven that you can grow your economy, you can add new people but you can also use less water.”

To learn more about Nevada’s role in the Colorado River Water Users Association, visit this link.