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About the Groundwater Management Program

In 1997, the Nevada Legislature directed the Southern Nevada Water Authority to develop a program to protect and manage the Las Vegas Valley's primary groundwater supply which resulted in the creation of the Las Vegas Valley Groundwater Management Program.

Every year since 2000, the Las Vegas Valley Groundwater Management Program has been designated a "Groundwater Guardian" by the Groundwater Foundation, a national nonprofit organization dedicated to protecting groundwater supplies. The Groundwater Management Program was awarded the Groundwater Guardian designation for its ongoing commitment to sound groundwater management in the Las Vegas Valley. Las Vegas is the first and only community in Nevada to receive the designation. The program supports, recognizes, and connects communities protecting groundwater, and is designed to empower local citizens and communities to take voluntary steps toward protecting their groundwater resources.

Groundwater Management program goals

  • Protection: Support activities to protect the aquifer from contamination.
  • Management: Improve management of the groundwater resources to prevent over-drafting.
  • Information: Provide information about the aquifer, water conservation and rules governing groundwater wells in Southern Nevada to well users.
  • Cooperation: Increase understanding and cooperation among groundwater users and agencies involved in groundwater.

Well users help shape the program
The Las Vegas Valley Groundwater Management Program receives input from an Advisory Committee for Groundwater Management. This well user group meets annually to discuss issues of interest and to develop recommendations on what can be done to protect the groundwater basin.

The committee's recommendations have been incorporated into the Las Vegas Valley Groundwater Management Program and its various activities.

Elements of the program
The following program elements are funded through an annual groundwater management fee which is paid by all well users and holders of water permits or water rights.

  • Permanent artificial recharge: A permanent recharge program helps restore the valley's groundwater system.
  • Well conversion grant program: A financial assistance program that will pay up to 85 percent of connection costs for well users who are required by the Nevada State Engineer to connect to a municipal water system.
  • Aquifer protection: Increased groundwater quality monitoring as well as the Las Vegas Valley Aquifer Protection Plan.
  • Well user education: Information and outreach on wells, water laws and issues of importance to Southern Nevada residents.
  • Well plugging and abandonment grant program: Plugging and abandonment of unused wells in the Las Vegas Valley.
  • Conservation education: Conservation incentives, such as rebates and coupons, for well users.


Learn about groundwater fees and billing

To fund activities to protect the Las Vegas groundwater basin, the Nevada Legislature initiated an annual fee for well users.

The Southern Nevada Water Authority distributes bills for the annual groundwater management fee to well owners and groundwater permit holders in the Las Vegas basin in late summer of each year.

  • For domestic wells (a well that serves only one home) the fee is $20 per year.
  • For all other types of wells the fee is $20 per acre-foot of permitted water use per year.

Approximately 60 percent of the fees are paid by municipal water purveyors and other government entities — the largest water-right holders in the valley.

Where does the money go?
Revenue from the mandatory fee provides funding for the Las Vegas Valley Groundwater Management Program to:

  • Prevent groundwater contamination.
  • Encourage well owners to properly plug unused wells.
  • Provide financial assistance to help well users who are required by the Nevada State Engineer to connect to a municipal water system or who volunteer to connect to the system.
  • Provide well users with conservation incentives and rebates.

Who manages the money?
The Southern Nevada Water Authority manages the fee and its collection.

As well users learn about the program, its value becomes apparent — stabilizing groundwater, aquifer protection and financial help that will dramatically cut the cost of connection for well users, should they ever have to connect to municipal water.

Related links and external resources

For more information about groundwater, real-time water level data, laws and regulations, visit these websites:

Groundwater protection and education
These sites provide education and promote awareness about groundwater protection:

Historic and real-time data
These sites provide real-time groundwater level data, weather updates and historic water data:

Interpretation services for water analyses
These organizations provide interpretation services for your water analysis lab results:

Laws and regulations about water in Nevada
These sites provide information about the laws and regulations of water in Nevada:

Water purveyors
The following organizations provide water service to areas of Southern Nevada:

Division of Water Resources pumping inventory