While significant progress has been made in our efforts to shift to a sustainable supply of renewable water, more is needed to ensure that our water future is secure. More people will live in our region in the coming years as our children and grandchildren have families of their own and others come here to enjoy the outstanding quality of life our region offers.
To meet this challenge, we developed a four-point plan to ensure a secure and sustainable water future for our region.
1. ADDITIONAL SUPPLY
The South Metro region will need to develop approximately 30,000 acre‐feet of additional renewable water supplies by 2065. To meet that need, individual members have planned a number of projects that will yield approximately 20,000 acre‐feet (“Planned Renewable”). Successful implementation of those projects will be essential to meeting our future needs. To meet our remaining need of 11,000 acre‐feet of renewable water supply, additional projects must be explored.
The figure to the right illustrates this demand through buildout in 2065 and how those demands will be met. The blue hatch represents the 20,000 acre‐feet of Planned Renewable projects and the green represents the additional 11,000 acre‐feet that are needed (“Renewable Goal”).
2. ADDITIONAL STORAGE
Development of additional storage opportunities will be critical for the SMWSA region to help firm existing and future supplies as renewable supply volumes increase. This also provides additional flexibility within member systems. We will explore two options for storage. The first is additional surface storage. Members are already storing water in Reuter‐Hess Reservoir or have plans to do so, and many also have plans to utilize storage through the Chatfield Reallocation Project. SMWSA and our members will continue to evaluate and pursue additional surface storage throughout the region. The second option is storing the water in the underground aquifer (Aquifer Storage and Recovery or “ASR”).
3. WATER QUALITY AND TDS MANAGEMENT
As we bring on additional supplies from WISE or other renewable surface supplies, a growing challenge is the potential increase in total dissolved solids (“TDS”) in these supplies. Higher TDS concentrations are not a concern for human health but rather a taste and aesthetic concern.
SMWSA will manage the concentration of TDS by acquiring low TDS supplies, acquiring a mix of supplies that can be blended to lower the TDS concentration, or utilizing desalination treatment technologies to reduce salinity in supplies with elevated TDS. Managing levels of TDS in our water supplies will help ensure a reliable and trusted water supply.
4. CONSERVATION & EFFICIENCY
SMWSA members are focused on our region’s commitment to conservation and efficient water use. New programs and projects are currently being pursued and implemented at both local and regional levels.
According to the University of Nevada, Las Vegas, “Xeriscaping is a water conservation concept that originated in Colorado, eventually spreading throughout the west. The idea was to save water by utilizing water efficient landscape designs that could also be used as an attractive outdoor decoration.” Some benefits of xeriscaping include a beautiful, natural landscape and meaningful savings in water, money, time, and energy.