How Water Shortages Might Affect your Las Vegas Home Purchase

Low Lake Mead water levels are all over the news. We often get asked about how water shortages will affect Las Vegas. If you are buying a home in Las Vegas or Henderson, there are 3 things you need to know about how water conservation might affect you.

It’s important to note that these efforts have been possible through the Southern Nevada Water Authority. Southern Nevada has been leading the way with water conservation efforts. We have cut overall water use by 26% while also adding 750,000 people to the population since 2002.

Desert Landscaping in your community.

Some of my favorite communities across the Valley are so beautiful due to their lush and mature landscaping. As an example, older parts of Summerlin, Green Valley Ranch, and Lake Las Vegas feel like you’ve stepped into another world out of the desert. This is due in large part to all the grass in the common areas.

However, new NV law permanently bans use of Colorado river water on non-functional grass at commercial and multi-family properties like homeowner associations, apartments, condos, etc. This also extends to grass that surrounds parking lots, business parks, and all common areas not actively used for recreational purposes.

That bill states: “the waters of the Colorado River that are distributed by the Southern Nevada Water Authority… may not be used to irrigate nonfunctional turf on any property that is not zoned exclusively for a single-family residence.” The law requires compliance by early 2027.

Currently, southern Nevada has replaced enough grass with desert landscaping to wrap a strip all the way around the Earth! But we’re only half way done.

Why does this matter to you? If you’re buying in a community because you love the grassy walking trails…this landscaping will change. Desert landscaping can be done beautifully and tastefully and still look lush (ex MacDonald Highlands). However, you don’t know if the HOA will do a good job or not.


Desert Landscaping at your House

We talked about converting common areas to desert landscaping, now let’s talk about your own backyard.

Whether you do it yourself or hire a contractor, the Southern Nevada Water Authority will rebate residential properties properties $3 per square foot of grass removed and replaced with desert landscaping.

This is an optional program to participate in, and it’s great to see many doing so. However, one thing to note is that participating in this program put a conservation easement on your property. This means if you purchase a home that participated in the program and received the rebate for their backyard space, you will be prevented from installing grass or a pool in the backyard.


Pool Size Limitations

Southern Nevada is modifying building and development codes, limiting the surface area of new residential swimming pools and spas to no more than 600 square feet per property.

While the average size swimming pool in Southern Nevada is about 475 square feet, the new pool size limits will prevent large-scale, water-intensive residential swimming pools.

The Las Vegas Valley Water District approved the new conservation measure, which took effect Sept. 1, 2022.

The measure is expected to save more than 32 million gallons over the next 10 years and will be considered and implemented into development codes by local municipalities in 2022.

This policy will help create equity across all residential properties – regardless of home or lot sizes – and allow homeowners to have a functional pool without excessive water demands.

Looking towards the future

There is plenty of work that still needs to be done to conserve water in the Southwestern United States. We are proud for the steps that Southern Nevada has taken thus far to do their part.

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