The State of Utah is seeking public input on newly established regional goals for municipal and industrial water conservation.
The Utah Division of Water Resources’ new draft plan calls for an 18 percent reduction in per-person water use by 2030 in the Bear River Area, which includes Box Elder, Cache and Rich counties.
The most recent state numbers show that in 2015, the average person in the Bear River region used 304 gallons of water every day. The new draft plan calls for that number to be reduced to 249 gallons daily by 2030.
The numbers indicate that the highest per-capita water use in the state is in the Upper Colorado region of southeast Utah, at 333 gallons per day in 2015, while the lowest is in the Salt Lake region, which includes Salt Lake and Tooele counties, at 210 gallons per day.
Municipal and industrial conservation includes residential, commercial, institutional (for example, schools and parks), and industrial water use, and excludes agriculture, mining and power generation. This is the first time Utah’s water conservation goals have been established on a regional level, an approach which was recommended by the 2015 Legislative Audit, 2017 Follow-up Audit, Third-Party Review and 2017 Recommended State Water Strategy.
“A regional approach allows the goals to be tailored for nine different regions around the state and takes into account climate, elevation, and each region’s characteristics and needs,” Division of Water Resources Deputy Director Todd Adams said. “Given Utah’s diverse geography, establishing region-specific goals makes sense.”
Utah’s previous statewide conservation goal was reducing per-capita use 25% by 2025.
“We’ve made significant progress thanks to the waterwise efforts of many Utahns and water managers,” Division of Water Resources Assistant Director Candice Hasenyager said. “There is still more to be done, and these new regional goals are the next step. Accomplishing these goals will require everyone’s participation, including water managers, elected officials, state and local leaders, and the public.”
To formulate the new water conservation goals, the Division of Water Resources first gathered public input. Last fall, over 1,650 people participated in a water conservation survey, and eight open houses across the state were held. After public input was tallied, a team consisting of water providers, members from the Governor’s Office of Management and Budget, and Water Resources staff worked with a third-party consultant to provide input on the region-specific goals.
“These goals will help guide the state’s water managers in planning future infrastructure, policies and programs consistent with Utah’s semiarid climate and growing demand for water,” said Adams. “We invite the public to take a look and share their thoughts.”
View the water conservation goals and submit online comment now through Sept. 25 at Water.Utah.Gov/regional-conservation-goals.