Water Resources Research Act Program

Details for Project ID 2011NV179B

Assessment of Resiliency of Las Vegas Water System Under Climatic and Non-Climatic Stressors

Institute: Nevada
Year Established: 2011 Start Date: 2011-03-01 End Date: 2013-02-28
Total Federal Funds: $19,851 Total Non-Federal Funds: $39,716

Principal Investigators: Mahesh Gautam, Kumud Acharya

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 inLake 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.