Washington, D.C. – U.S. Senator Catherine Cortez Masto (D-Nev.) introduced legislation to ensure Southern Nevada Water Authority’s (SNWA) Horizon Lateral water pipeline project can be constructed underground through Sloan Canyon National Conservation Area (NCA). This pipeline will provide water for over a million Nevadans, dramatically improving Las Vegas’s water system and protecting residents from outages. Cortez Masto’s legislation would facilitate the responsible construction of this pipeline, while also protecting additional sensitive desert landscape by increasing the size of Sloan Canyon NCA by over 9,000 acres.
“Innovative projects like the Horizon Lateral pipeline could protect water access for more than a million Nevadans and ensure Las Vegas has sustainable, reliable water infrastructure,” said Senator Cortez Masto. “This legislation will increase the capacity of our entire water system in the valley while protecting our unique ecosystems and the residents and businesses in Henderson.”
“We appreciate Senator Cortez Masto introducing legislation to help increase water service reliability for the Las Vegas Valley,” said John Entsminger, Southern Nevada Water Authority General Manager. “In addition to water conservation, protecting and enhancing water infrastructure is paramount, and this legislation helps ensure Southern Nevada’s regional water system has the necessary capacity and redundancy to not only meet the needs of today, but also the challenges of tomorrow.”
Currently, SNWA operates one large water pipeline, the South Valley Lateral, that serves approximately 40% of the residents and businesses in the Las Vegas valley, including the entire City of Henderson. The Las Vegas Valley needs another water pipeline in order to support the growing population, increase the reliability and capacity of the existing water delivery system, and protect Las Vegas residents from water outages in the event of an emergency.
After years of study and engagement with valley stakeholders, SNWA determined the safest, most effective, and least disruptive route for the Horizon Lateral would be via an underground pipeline through the Sloan Canyon NCA, as opposed to constructing it through the City of Henderson. This route saves ratepayers $200 million, minimizes disturbances to both Henderson residents and the land in Sloan Canyon, and ensures the water delivery system provides redundancy in emergency situations and flexibility in planning for a growing community. The Senator’s legislation to support the pipeline’s construction on this route would also expand Sloan Canyon’s conservation area by 9,290 acres to bring the total NCA acreage to 57,728 acres.
Senator Cortez Masto has been a leader in the Senate working to support conservation efforts and combat drought. As part of the Great American Outdoors Act, she secured permanent funding for the Land and Water Conservation Fund (LWCF). Cortez Masto fought to deliver $4 billion to combat drought in the states bordering the Colorado River in the Inflation Reduction Act and secured $450 million in the Bipartisan Infrastructure Law to fund large-scale water recycling projects, including one that would provide water for more than 500,000 households in Southern Nevada and California.