Water Conservation Efforts
Since 1965, Boulder City has processed wastewater by sending it through a bar screen and grit removal system to remove solid waste. It is then released into evaporation ponds or sold for dust control. This wastewater is called "effluent." Currently, between 1.2 million and 1.5 million gallons of effluent is released daily into the evaporation ponds. City Council and City staff are actively working with the Southern Nevada Water Authority (SNWA) on efforts to reuse wastewater in a more sustainable way and reduce water usage throughout the community. SNWA staff presented wastewater reuse/recycling options during the March 14, 2023 City Council Meeting. City Council requested SNWA complete feasibility studies on Option 2 and Option 3, detailed here:
- Option 2 - Direct Reuse of Water for Irrigation
- Option 3 - Return Water to Lake Mead via a Recharge Well
Boulder City held a Wastewater Staff-led Town Hall Discussion led by Utilities Director Joe Stubitz on April 4, 2023. More than 60 people attended. Here is the link to the Power Point Presentation from the discussion. If you have questions, email staff at email@example.com.
Although it may be 6-12 months for the feasibility studies to be complete, we are seeking input on the options. City staff intends to seek additional public input after the feasibility studies are complete, likely in late 2023 or in 2024.
Take the Boulder City Wastewater Survey here through September 2023.
The U.S. Bureau of Reclamation announced an emergency shortage declaration for Lake Mead and the lower Colorado River Basin on August 16, 2021. This was the first shortage declaration in its history. This action calls for a reduction of the amount of water Southern Nevada is allowed to draw from the lake. Southern Nevada's water allocation was reduced by seven billion gallons – that’s enough water to serve 45,000 homes – effective in January 2022. And in August 2022, the federal government announced a tier two water reduction, further limiting the amount of water we can withdraw from Lake Mead, effective in January 2023.
Here are some other actions the City has taken so far.
Boulder City Ordinance and Code Changes
Bill 1917 to amend these ordinances was introduced on August 9, 2022 and unanimously approved at the August 23, 2022 meeting.
- Based on Southern Nevada Water Authority recommendations for the entire Valley
- Remove language allowing water to continuously flow into the gutter, street, sidewalk, etc.
- Language for failure to repair leaks, irrigation system, or supply line as water waste
- Pools limited to 600 sq. ft., and must drain into drainage port
- Restricts man-made lakes, water features
- Mapped “non-functional turf” at Boulder City Municipal Golf Course with Rathert and Southwick
- On August 9, 2022, City Council approved removal of 721,000 sq. feet of grass at Boulder City Municipal Golf Course
- Evaluation of City facilities is being conducted by SNWA
- “Future Turf Removal Candidate” sign campaign to launch throughout City to raise public awareness
Changes for City-Owned Parks, Golf Courses
- Changed out perimeter sprinklers to non-adjustable heads – Hemenway Park and Municipal Cemetery (Ongoing) (Updated Sept. 2022)
- Master Valve added to Xeriscape Park (Updated Sept. 2022)
- Veterans Ballfields – Valves were on manual controllers due to damaged wires. Recent project brought everything back online and we are able to adjust accordingly to weather and other needs (Updated Sept. 2022)
- Continuous monitoring and adjusting of sprinklers (Updated Sept. 2022)
- Water budgeted for golf courses cut from 6.3 acre-feet per irrigated acre to 4.0 acre-feet per irrigated acre throughout Southern Nevada
- Water budgeted based upon acre-feet of water for each acre originally irrigated
- Acreage includes lakes and ponds on the course
- Acreage remains fixed - incentive for courses to convert to water efficient landscaping
- 40-percent of American Rescue Plan Act dollars for water conservation and wastewater programs (more than $10 million)
- Conserve water and reuse wastewater sustainably
- In negotiations with SNWA for sustainable wastewater reclamation. Options include building a pipeline to reuse treated water for irrigation at BC Golf Courses or return treated wastewater to Lake Mead via a recharge well.
- Developing new landscape requirements for new development and guidance for parkway landscaping
- Planting/cross-seeding more drought-resistant grass in parks/facilities
- Updated irrigation systems to make sure the water is used exactly where and when needed
- City staff is working with Southern Nevada Water Authority to replace non-functional grass in City parks
- Campaign will be launched to further educate the public
- This is a process – all efforts will be moving forward to meet our goals
- Sharing information via Utility Bill insert, YouTube, BCTV, social media platforms, newspaper articles, City website and more
SNWA Water Smart Landscape Rebates
Residents can take part in the Southern Nevada Water Authority rebate program to replace non-functional grass with desert landscaping. Residential properties, businesses, HOAs and multifamily properties are eligible and can get $3 per square foot of grass removed and replaced with desert landscaping. Both SNWA and Boulder City offer rebate programs for smart controllers. These devices turn off your sprinkler system when it rains to prevent unnecessary overwatering of turf. Learn more here for Boulder City's program and by visiting www.snwa.com.