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Panel discussion tonight on future of Nevada’s water

Lake Mead on the Colorado River in Nevada as seen from the Hoover Dam. Courtesy Waycool27
Suzanne Potter

(Nevada News Service) Some of the state's top experts will speak out tonight on the greatest water issues facing Nevada.

The event, sponsored by the Nevada Conservation League, takes place at the Springs Preserve in Las Vegas.

John Entsminger, general manager of the Las Vegas Valley Water District and the Southern Nevada Water Authority, said even though the feds just cut Nevada's water allocation by 8 percent for next year, Nevada water users are not facing drastic cuts.

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"What it is, is an 8 percent cut to our legal entitlements," Entsminger explained. "But because we spent the last two decades leading the world in urban water conservation, we will actually still have extra water next year."

Entsminger pointed out the aridification of the American West means by midcentury, the Colorado River will have about 25 percent to 30 percent less water compared with last century. The plan is to cut average daily water use from 110 gallons per person per day to 86 gallons by 2035. New rules on watering only three days a week go into effect September 1.

Kristen Averyt, senior climate adviser to Governor Steve Sisolak, said agencies are targeting specific changes to help secure Nevada's water supply.

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"It's really about leaky septic tanks, making sure that we're not losing water with evaporative cooling," Averyt noted. "And watering grass that you don't walk on. It's the medians. And that's about 10 percent of the consumptive use here in Southern Nevada."

The seven states around the Colorado River Basin missed a deadline last week to come up with a regional plan to draw less water from Lake Mead, but they are still negotiating in hopes of avoiding a solution imposed by the federal government.