Water consumption

Updated 7/22/19

Water demand is dependent upon residential household use, commercial use in the production of goods and services, and irrigation (dependent upon landscaping and weather). As the region grows, the population, housing units and landscaping drive residential demand, the largest component of system use. According to the 2008-2030 Water Resource Plan, based upon water demand and peak day projections, TMWA expects to meet projected retail water use through 2030, but conservation measures will play a larger role as the drought years return.

TMWA’s upstream reserves tracker link

Water consumption comes down in years of drought, and residential use has not been consistently over 200 gallons per capita per day since the late 1980’s. Usage was up again after the 1997 flood. Water conservation efforts are a key requirement of the region’s agreements under the Truckee River Operating Agreement (TROA). Water conservation helps keep the costs down for consumers since we do not have to build a new water treatment plant and we can delay finding new water supply sources.

Due to drought conditions, Truckee Meadows Water Authority (TMWA) began releasing drought reserves July 2014.  Residents were asked to reduce outdoor watering by 10%, and not to run sprinklers between 11 am and 7 pm, in order to conserve water and reduce the use of reserves, but winter 2014-15 received even less snowpack.  Consequently, TMWA again asked for 10% reductions as upstream reservoirs shut-off flows to the Truckee River and the ditch system stopped flowing before the end of April.  Click to find 10 easy ways to save water.  Increased snow pack in more recent winters have again filled reserves.


  • 1 acre-foot = 325,851 gallons (amount it would take to cover a football field with one foot of water)
  • Does not include wholesale use (Sun Valley, Spanish Springs, South Truckee Meadows)
  • Water consumption data collection factors changed with the TMWA-Washoe County merger in 2015; processing data is now done differently than in the past

Which of the following measures, if any, have you taken to conserve water? (MarkeTec phone survey for TMT, December 2007)

Watering on assigned days 38%
Xeriscape landscaping 23.8%
Installed water saving plumbing (shower heads or toilets) 11%
Taken no measures to conserve water 5.4%


Truckee Meadows Water Authority

  • 2010-2030 Water Resource Plan, Table 4: Annual Water Production
  • 2008-2030 Water Resource Plan, Table 2:  Estimated Annual Water Use Per Service

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