Las Vegas curtails Colorado River use for new golf courses

Las Vegas curtails Colorado River use for new golf courses
A view of Reflection Canyon in Lake Powell, Glen Canyon National Recreation Area, in 2013. (NPS photo)

LAS VEGAS (AP) — Amid region-wide drought, the Las Vegas Valley Water District on Tuesday passed a new regulation to prohibit new golf courses from using water from the over-tapped Colorado River.

The rule change will apply to courses in the city of Las Vegas and unincorporated Clark County, but not Henderson or North Las Vegas. New golf courses will still be able to use groundwater, the Las Vegas Review-Journal reported.

“Restricting the use of municipal water resources for new non-essential, water-intensive uses such as golf courses will help to minimize additional stress on current water supplies and aid the District in maintaining reliable service to its customers,” the district said.

Golf courses use about 236 million gallons (894 million liters) of water annually, according to the district.

The Colorado River supplies roughly 90% of southern Nevada’s water. It’s yielding less water than it did a century ago when seven western states agreed to divide up shares. In August, after years of drought decreased the amount of water flowing through the river, Nevada and Arizona’s allocations were cut for the first time.

Though southern Nevada doesn’t use its full allocation of the Colorado River, it has implemented a series of conservation measures in recent years to limit grass and prepare for a drier future.