State Water Resources Research Institute Program

Project ID: 2011NV179B
Title: Assessment of Resiliency of Las Vegas Water System Under Climatic and Non-Climatic Stressors
Project Type: Research
Start Date: 3/01/2011
End Date: 2/28/2012
Congressional District:
Focus Categories: Water Use, Water Supply, Management and Planning
Keywords: climate change impact, adaptation, demand management
Principal Investigators: Gautam, Mahesh (Desert Research Institute); Acharya, Kumud (Desert Research Instittute)
Federal Funds: $ 19,851
Non-Federal Matching Funds: $ 39,716
Abstract: The arid/semi-arid Southwestern United States cities can be typically characterized by massive population growth, urban sprawl, and heavy water usages. Despite such characteristics and history of water related conflicts and several droughts, the regions have remained relatively secured for water until recently. However, this security is being threatened under climate change. A number of research articles have indicated severe threats to water availability in the region (see related research section), the Lower Colorado River Basin and thus southern Nevada. In Nov. 2010 water level in Lake Mead dropped to the level of 1081.9 above mean sea level, lowest since the Lake Mead was filled 1937 after construction. Between 1999 and 2008, the average annual inflow to the Colorado River was about 56% of the long-term average. With about 90% of its supply from Lake Mead, the magnitude of threat in LV water system is understandable. The Las Vegas water supply system is under pressure from climatic factors (with threats of reduction of their share of water from Lake Mead 300,000 million acre feet), as well as non-climatic factors of increasing population and associated demand.

Progress/Completion Report, 2011, PDF

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