Southern Nevada Water Authority Revenue Plummets 43% in Five Years

Revenue from connection charges down 94% from 2005-6. Burst housing bubble combined with foreclosures forces SNWA to consider options to pay down debt and fund infrastructure projects

Southern Nevada Water Authority  (SNWA) provides wholesale water delivery and treatment to the greater Las Vegas Valley. SNWA generated funds, in part, by assessing a connection charge on new homes and businesses served by the Authority’s members agencies. According to a report in the Las Vegas Sun, the plan was to fund the cost of needed infrastructure investments by SNWA by passing the costs on to new construction. According to the Las Vegas Review-Journal, SNWA relied on the connection charge for 60% of the costs of infrastructure and debt payment.

Growth was to pay for growth. – Patricia Mulroy, General Manager, SNWA, Las Vegas Sun

Alas, growth slowed, as did revenue from connection charges, leaving the Authority looking for alternatives to meet their current financial obligations.

One option under consideration is placing liens on foreclosed properties, which would require the new owner to pay SNWA back fees for maintaining water service to the property. RealtyTrac’s December 2011 report shows 5,474 foreclosure units in Clark County, or  1 out of every 150 housing units. One member agency, Las Vegas Valley Water District, has just more than 5% inactive connections. It’s a complicated option which, even if implemented, may take years to generate revenue.

The SNWA board is considering five options, including a rate hike.








cc image courtesy of El Caganer on Flickr