The Nevada Department of Wildlife has been worried about the drought. As a result, they have sent thousands of gallons of water to southern Nevada for bighorn sheep. The water will be used to fill as many as twelve guzzlers across the southern part of Nevada.
The agency is sending around 55,000 gallons of water that will ensure that not only bighorn sheep but numerous other wildlife will have valuable drinking water throughout the summer and fall.
Guzzlers typically catch and store rainwater and snowmelt. The guzzlers then slowly trickle the water into a small catch container that wildlife can drink from. These guzzlers allow mass areas of land to become usable for wildlife. However, the extreme drought has Nevada officials extremely worried about the guzzlers drying up. Poor winter moisture and weak seasonal rains have prompted the majority of this water transferring work.
This type of project is not unusual, both Nevada and Arizona have done similar projects in the past. In 2020, Nevada sent over 167,000 gallons of water to over 30 guzzlers across the state. Arizona also has a program that delivers water to its catchment tanks across the state. On average, Arizona sends 1.5 million gallons of water a year for wildlife. This is done primarily through the SendWater program.
The Nevada Department of Wildlife credits the full guzzlers and delivering water to the growth of the bighorn herds.
“In 1967 we had about 2,500 to 3,000 bighorn sheep statewide and today thanks to projects like guzzlers or our trapping and transplanting efforts, we’re up to about 12,000 sheep statewide.” – Douglas Nielsen, Nevada Department of Wildlife
With the continuation of the extreme drought throughout the west, it is most likely that Nevada will have to keep up the program in the years to come.