Water quality, supply and demand focus of Groundwater Week | NevadaAppeal.com

Water quality, supply and demand focus of Groundwater Week

Department of Conservation and Natural Resources

The Nevada Department of Conservation and Natural Resources (DCNR) is helping educate Nevada residents about the unique importance of groundwater in Nevada during National Groundwater Awareness Week, which kicked off Sunday and runs through Saturday.

Nevada is the driest state in the nation, with an average precipitation of only about 9.5 inches annually. With Nevada's limited supply of groundwater and the seasonal nature of surface water, virtually all Nevada residents rely on groundwater — to some extent — for drinking, irrigation, livestock, manufacturing, mining, and/or thermoelectric power. In Nevada, approximately 490 to 540 billion gallons of groundwater are pumped every year, 70 percent of which is used for irrigation. As Nevada's primary natural resource agency, the DCNR is focused on helping conserve and maximize Nevada's precious water resources.

In addition to managing the quantity of groundwater in Nevada, it is also essential to ensure the quality of our limited groundwater resources. Without proper management, groundwater can become contaminated with harmful germs, bacteria, viruses, and parasites, as well as chemicals, like those used in fertilizers and pesticides. Within DCNR, the Nevada Division of Water Resources (NDWR) and the Nevada Division of Environmental Protection (NDEP) work together to actively monitor, protect, and secure the availability of clean, safe groundwater.

"Understanding the vital role of groundwater in our home state, the Nevada Division of Water Resources promotes best practices as they relate to water conservation through effective administration of our water laws, as well as through active monitoring of groundwater levels, groundwater withdrawals, precipitation measurement anticipating increased demand, and putting strategic measures in place to prevent critical shortages in the future," said Jason King, State Engineer, Administrator of the NDWR. "Our agency is dedicated to being easily accessible to all Nevada residents, businesses, and stakeholders to assist with water-related matters, and we welcome and encourage our community members to contact us with any questions or concerns they may have. Together, we can protect Nevada's precious water resources, ensuring it is available and plentiful today and for generations to come."

Greg Lovato, Administrator of the Nevada Division of Environmental Protection, emphasizes, "Access to clean water is essential to public health and to Nevada's economy. NDEP works closely with Nevada communities and businesses to restore, protect, and prevent the degradation of our water resources. We oversee the delivery of safe drinking water to the public, as well as provide funding and technical assistance for water quality improvement and protection projects and local planning initiatives focused on water quality restoration. Nevada's citizens are better positioned to support groundwater protection activities when they understand the importance of this precious resource to public health, the environment, and ultimately a healthy and vibrant economy."

To learn more about the Nevada Department of Conservation and Natural Resources, please visit http://dcnr.nv.gov/. To contact the Nevada Division of Water Resources directly, call (775) 684-2861.