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Ed Von Tobel and his wife posing with Jake and Will Beckley near an early water well.

Historic timeline

The Las Vegas Valley Water District is a not-for-profit agency that began providing water to the Las Vegas Valley in 1954. Today, the Las Vegas Valley Water District delivers reliable, quality water—tested and treated in state-of-the-art facilities—to more than 1 million people in one of world's most dynamic communities.

Our Mission: Provide world class water service in a sustainable, adaptive and responsible manner to our customers through reliable, cost effective systems.

Our Values: Respect for People, Integrity, Service, Excellence, Sustainability.

Company history

The Water District and SNWA inaugurated into the Leading Utilities of the World for innovation, advances and solutions to water challenges.

Las Vegas Valley Water District timeline of milestones

The pre-LVVWD days

Early 1900s: Las Vegas was a hub for the San Pedro, Los Angeles and Salt Lake City Railroad (later the Union Pacific Railroad), which formed the Las Vegas Land and Water Company (LVL&W) in 1905 to sell land and provide water to Las Vegas' growing population. Water in this period came solely from wells and the underground Las Vegas Springs, which bubbled to the surface.

1922-1942: The Colorado River Compact allotted a small amount of Colorado River water to Southern Nevada. This supply went largely unused until 1942, when Basic Management Inc. (BMI) in Henderson began importing Lake Mead water from the Colorado River for industrial purposes. The rest of the valley continues to rely on groundwater supplies.


Mid-1940s: Las Vegas is a small, but growing town with major water challenges. The valley's over-reliance on dwindling groundwater supplies has city officials concerned. Area leaders want to develop a water system that will serve the valley's present and future needs.

1947: The Nevada Legislature passes a bill enabling county voters to create a water district, whose primary objective would be to begin pulling water from Lake Mead, using the state's Colorado River allocation to serve the Las Vegas Valley.

October 19, 1948: Clark County voters approve the creation of the Las Vegas Valley Water District (LVVWD) in a special election, and choose a seven-member board of directors.

1952: The Union Pacific Railroad agrees to sell the LVL&W Company to LVVWD for $2.5 million. With that sale, Union Pacific and the LVL&W Company turn over all water distribution properties, springs, wells, pumping and storage facilities, and water bearing lands.

July 1, 1954: LVL&W Company sale is finalized and LVVWD begins operations, drilling its first well that same month.

1955: Las Vegas receives its first delivery of Lake Mead water from the BMI system in Henderson and constructs its first reservoir (Charleston Heights).


1960: Design begins on a two-stage Southern Nevada Water System (SNWS) to treat and deliver water from Lake Mead to Las Vegas. The district's largest undertaking to date is one of the most important achievements in Southern Nevada's history.

1968: Construction begins on the first stage of the SNWS.

1971: The SNWS begins delivering water to Las Vegas.

1978: The Water District and concerned citizens petition to have the area surrounding the historic Las Vegas Springs designated as an archaeological site and added to the National Register of Historic Places—ensuring protection from encroaching development of U.S. 95 and more.


1980: The Water District's Desert Demonstration Gardens opens on Alta Drive, with support from the local Kiwanis Club.

1981: The valley's maximum daily water demand exceeds 200 million gallons for the first time.

1982: SNWS second-stage construction is completed, increasing treatment and transmission capacity to 400 million gallons of water per day.

1990: Maximum daily water demand exceeds 300 million gallons for the first time.

1991: The Southern Nevada Water Authority (SNWA) is formed to address Southern Nevada's water needs on a regional basis.

1993: The LVVWD is selected as the operating agent for the SNWA.

1995: The LVVWD and other SNWA member agencies develop a conservation plan for the region.

1998: The LVVWD forms a partnership with the Las Vegas Springs Preserve Foundation to protect the cultural, natural and water resources at the Las Vegas Springs.

1999: Maximum daily demand exceeds 400 million gallons for the first time.


2002: The district's service population surpasses 1 million people.

2007: The Springs Preserve opens in June. The LVVWD Desert Demonstration Gardens moves to the Springs Preserve site.

2008: The Alternative Vehicle Institute names the Water District a national 2008 Green Ribbon Award Winner for demonstrating outstanding leadership in the use of alternative fuels.

2008: The Hydrogen Road Tour, a caravan of hydrogen-powered vehicles, refuels at the district during a 33-city cross-country tour. The district's hydrogen fueling facility, opened in 2007, is one of only two in the country that operates on solar energy.

2010: LVVWD ranks 3rd in Government Fleet Magazine's Top 40 Government Green Fleets in America. More than 38,000 public fleets operate in North America.

2011: LVVWD underscores commitment to sustainability with first annual sustainability report.

2012: The American Water Works Association awards the Wendell R. LaDue Utility Safety Award to LVVWD.

2013: The National Biodiesel Board awards LVVWD the Eye on Biodiesel: Inspiration Award for testing biodiesel and inspiring fleets nationwide.

2014: LVVWD marks its 60th anniversary.

2015: The Association of Metropolitan Water Agencies awards the Platinum Award for Utility Excellence to LVVWD.

2016: The American Water Works Association awards a Partnership for Safe Water Presidents Award to LVVWD's River Mountains and Alfred Merritt Smith water treatment plants for their efforts in optimizing water treatment plant operation and performance.

2017: The Water District awarded first place in the Government Green Fleet Award rankings for its efforts to build a fleet of alternative-fueled vehicles and other environmental best practices.

2018: The Water District and Southern Nevada Water Authority (SNWA) inaugurated into the Leading Utilities of the World, a global network of the world’s most innovative water utilities and agencies. Both the Water District and SNWA were recognized for innovation, advances and solutions to water challenges.

2018: The American Water Works Association awards a Partnership for Safe Water’s Excellence in Water Treatment Award to River Mountains Water Treatment Facility, one of the water industry's highest honors.

2018: The Association of Metropolitan Water Agencies honors the Water District with a Sustainable Water Utility Management Award for achieving an innovative and successful balance of economic, social and environmental endeavors.

2019: The American Water Works Association awards a Partnership for Safe Water's Excellence in Water Treatment Award to Alfred Merrit Smith Water Treatment Facility, for best practices in water treatment.