Watering Restrictions Begin Thurs. Sept. 1st in Las Vegas—Can You Be Fined for Overusing?

Water waste is a major concern in the dry southwest therefore enforcement of Las Vegas water restrictions has begun. In the Nevada desert, citizens are asked to abide by important water conservation efforts. Starting September 1st, watering restrictions begin in the Las Vegas Valley. The Southern Nevada Water Authority provides specific guidelines for business owners and residents as to how often and how much they can water their properties. Watering on days other than your allotted schedule can result in hefty waste water fees.

Why the Need for Las Vegas Water Restrictions?

The Las Vegas Valley Water District cites that Lake Mead, which the Colorado River flows into, reached record low water levels. Since 2000, the lake’s water level has dropped more than 130 feet. Researchers believe that the ongoing drought is due to below-average snowfall in the Rocky Mountains. The snow melts and runs off into the Colorado River, where the Las Vegas Valley gets about 90% of its water.

In an effort to conserve the Valley’s precious water supply, the Water Authority put special drought measures in place. These include outdoor watering restrictions, watering assignments for landscaping, and higher water waste fees and water rates. Part of these measures is a mandatory watering system by which all Las Vegas Valley residents must abide—or else they face fines and fees for disobedience.

Fall Watering Restrictions

September 1st marks the first day of fall in the eyes of the Nevada Water Authority. From September 1st to October 31st, residents must abide by the fall Las Vegas water restrictions. Landscape irrigation is limited to three pre-assigned days per week. Lawn watering may occur three times a day, up to four minutes for each watering cycle. You must leave at least one hour between each watering cycle to let the hard desert soil absorb the water. This prevents water running off lawns and into the streets.

You can water by hand at any time as often as desired. To treat brown spot areas on lawns, the water district advises residents to add a tablespoon of liquid soap to a gallon of water and soak the affected area. This breaks down the tension on the surface of the soil and allows for better water absorption. Residents are advised to water before sunrise, add mulch to prevent erosion and water loss, and use drip irrigation. Watering on days other than your assigned day (Sunday is not an option) can result in water waste fines.

Consequences for Overusing Water

Yes, you can face a fine if you overuse your water in the fall months in Las Vegas Valley. Waste water fees vary depending on the meter size of the waste and the number of violations the resident accrues. When water waste is reported, the water district investigates the claim, determines if there is a violation, and issues a notice. If the customer fails to fix the problem, the district assesses fees on the resident’s water bill. A rebate for first-time fees is available to citizens who attend a water conservation class or complete a Curbing Water Waste test.

Fines range from $80 for a first violation of one inch or less of water waste to a $5,120 fine for a fifth violation of three inches or greater. Customers can protest the fines and request a hearing. If your system has a design flaw causing the problem, you can apply for an extension to make repairs. See the full table of fine amounts on the district’s website. Consider hiring a lawyer to make an appeal on your behalf if you are incorrectly assessed a fee.