Henderson Parks Partners with SNWA

Nevada is one of seven western states, and Mexico, sharing water rights to the Colorado River. Nevada’s allocation of the available water is the least at 2% or only 300,000 acre-feet. The river supplies Lake Mead, the water storage reservoir that serves the lower basin states of Nevada, Arizona, and California. Approximately 90% of Southern Nevada’s water supply comes from the Colorado River. Due to historic Colorado River basin lows, drought has plagued the Las Vegas Valley since the early 2000s. In addition to increasing population demands from all the states that rely on the river, these historically low flows from the Colorado River have 
Colorado River
caused Lake Mead’s elevation to drop by more than 100 feet in the last decade. The Southern Nevada Water Authority (SNWA) is the regional wholesale water provider. It is responsible for water treatment and delivery, acquiring and managing long-term water resources for Southern Nevada, and addressing regional water issues. As one of SNWA’s largest member agencies, the City of Henderson serves approximately 98,000 customer accounts through a system that includes more than 2,200 miles of 
pipelines, 43 pumping stations, and 55 water storage reservoirs. While Henderson’s Department of Utility Services is responsible for all facets of water, wastewater, and reclaimed water services to its citizens, the City recognizes the obligations related to the well-being and vitality of the communities it serves and encourages other departments to take up the water conservation mantle as well. In alignment with  that philosophy, the accredited  and award-winning Parks & Recreation 
Department also continues to contribute to Henderson’s vibrancy. Sustainability remains a goal and key consideration issue of the Parks and Recreation Master Plan. Measures such as expanding native landscape to decrease water use, irrigation system preventative maintenance plans, new development landscaping requirements, water usage reporting and evaluation, and non-recreational turf reduction contribute to conserving our community’s scarce natural resources.

2019 Turf Conversion Project

Turf concerns recently became a topic of interest with Governor Steve Sisolak signing a bill into law that requires removing “useless,” or purely decorative, grass throughout the Las Vegas Valley by the end of 2026. The effort is expected to conserve about 10% of the area’s annual Colorado River allotment. The City of Henderson Parks and Recreation Department took a similar step in 2019 with their Turf Conversion Project.
Since 2003 Parks and Recreation has converted 2 million sq. ft. of turf to desert landscaping. While the complete removal of turf has seen impressive results, parks require turf for community use. The 2019 Turf Conversion Project mitigated this issue by starting the conversion of turf in 10 Henderson Parks. In partnership with SNWA’s Water Smart Landscapes (WSL) program, more than one million sq. ft. of turf will be converted from Fescue, a cool-weather grass, to hybrid Bermuda, a warm-weather grass.

Water Use Reduction in Parks

Environmental concerns as a result of drought conditions is a strategic challenge, but the focus on converting non-usable turf , and designing new parks with minimized turf areas to limit or reduce water use has resulted in decreases in water use. The installment of Hybrid Bermuda’s deeper root system reduces its summer irrigation needs. It remains green from April to mid-October and falls dormant from November until March. Hybrid Bermuda can still be used for active play during dormancy and requires watering only once per month. Fescue requires weekly watering. Approximately half of the acreage slated for conversion has been completed, with Fescue replacement occurring in four parks with hybrid Bermuda sod and the remaining six parks overseeded with the more efficient grass. As a result of the completed conversion, the City will save 22.4 million gallons of water per year.

How You Can Help

Water conservation is the responsibility of each Henderson resident and business. Outdoor water use, primarily landscape irrigation, accounts for 60% of the valley’s water. To reduce your water footprint, you can:
1.	Check your irrigation system. Many of our parks are on a centrally-controlled irrigation system that utilizes computerized controllers to monitor daily weather station data and apply the optimum amount of water needed to keep plants healthy. Check your sprinkler system to ensure it works correctly and not watering walks, driveways, or the street. Regularly check your sprinkler system for leaks.
2.	Water only on your assigned watering day. Check your watering day(s) here. Text CONSERVE to 85357 to receive a text message reminding you to change your watering clock when the season changes or click HERE to sign up. Message and data rates may apply.
3.	Prevent and report water waste. You may anonymously report water waste here or by calling 702-267-5900. We need the location, day, time, and type of water waste you witnessed to open an investigation. We can then assist the responsible resident or business to identify the source of their water waste and advise them of methods for preventing it in the future. We appreciate your help!

4. Convert to Smart Landscaping

Fescue turf is often used for houses and parks because it stays green all year round. However, ornamental grasses are native to areas that receive 1 to 2 inches of water per week. That is 52-100+ inches of rain per year! In our desert environment, we receive fewer than 8” of rain per year on average. Whether you do it yourself or hire a contractor, SNWA currently offers a program called Water Smart Landscapes (WSL) that provides a 
rebate of $3 per square foot of grass converted to water-smart desert landscaping, also known as xeriscape. The City of Henderson is partnering with SNWA on the WSL rebate for businesses. Henderson businesses can receive $1.50 per square foot above 10,000 sq. ft., up to a maximum of 40,000 sq. ft., of turf converted. Certain restrictions apply for each rebate. For additional details: https://www.cityofhenderson.com/government/departments/utility-services/water-conservation/other-rebates-and-programs.