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'Get real': Southern Nevada's fall watering restrictions start this week

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Amid a historic drought, the Southern Nevada Water Authority is reminding residents of the fall watering schedule, which starts on Thursday, Sept. 1. 

Residents and businesses are required to change their watering clocks to three assigned watering days, SNWA said, and only 12 minutes per watering day. The restrictions last through Oct. 31. Watering on Sundays is prohibited. 

If you're unsure of your watering days, visit snwa.com

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The water authority also launched a new public education campaign called "Get Real," which contrasts computer generated imagery of decades-long water level declines in Lake Mead with images of landscape irrigation water going to waste in gutters.  

The federal government announced a water shortage on Aug. 16. The declaration reduces Southern Nevada's water use by 25,000-acre feet beginning in January. 

"If every property in Southern Nevada follows the seasonal water restriction year-round, our community will save more water than is being cut under the current shortage conditions," SNWA said in a news release.

Cory Enus, a spokesperson for the authority said even during this current heatwave, plants can survive the change. 

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“Typically around this time of the year, there’s more moisture in the air and plants will adjust. But even with the heatwave this week, if you notice that a plant or an area of grass needs a little more water, you can go ahead and hand water any day to give that plant a little extra attention that it needs," he said. 

Right now, people and businesses that don’t comply are considered “water wasters.” The SNWA will first issue warnings. 

"For residential and businesses, water waste fines range from $80 the first time and up to $5,000 for repeat offenders," he said. "The goal for water waste investigations is to be communicative, not punitive. So, we’ll give you an opportunity to fix whatever is occurring at your property, because sometimes people don’t know, since they’re watering early in the morning or late at night. There may be some things going on at the property with their irrigation system that they might not know about. So we do give an opportunity to fix. We can schedule what’s called an educational visit. But if that issue is not fixed, then the next time we come out, we will issue a fine.”  

Enus said water conservation is even more important this year. 

"We just entered into a tier two shortage where this year ... Water conservation takes on an added significance here in our community. If we can get everyone to comply with seasonal mandatory water restrictions, we can can save an excess of that shortage amount that we got this year.”

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Yvette Fernandez is KNPR’s daily news reporter and announcer. She joined the station September 2021.
Kristen DeSilva (she/her) is the online editor for Nevada Public Radio. She oversees and writes State of Nevada’s online and social media content.