Last night I attended the first in a series of meetings put on by the Utah Division of Natural Resources (DNR) on water conservation. The DNR has teamed up with Hansen Allen & Luce, Inc, and Bowen Collins & Associates to survey Utah citizens and help the state come up with some viable water conservation goals.
The meetings are open house style, so as you come in one of the presenters will walk you through a line of posters showing the path that Utah is hoping to take from today through 2065 in terms of water consumption.
I was surprised to find out that statewide water use in 2015 was 242 gallons per day PER PERSON! That’s incredible. The vast bulk of that number is due to residential outdoor water use, such as lawns, gardens, and landscapes. The second highest use is from residential indoor water use. Since those are the two highest use categories, they are also the categories where the most conservation can take place.
One of the boards that I found to be most interesting is the board on how much water we could be saving and how.
The main focus has been on improved water efficiency for indoor use devices, like showers, clothes washers, dishwashers, toilets, etc. The biggest reductions, however, could come from our yards!
When I was in the Army, I bought a house in Arizona, where we were stationed. The law where we lived stated that turf was not allowed in the front yard at all. Our front and side yards were all rock, with planting beds that housed rose-bushes, cactuses, and trees. It looked really nice. But the best part is that it was easy to maintain. We also didn’t use any water on it. We did have a patch of grass in the backyard, although most of the backyard was a nice flagstone patio.
Looking at this board made me think of that and how Utah is also a high-desert environment. Looking around the cities, you wouldn’t think so. As Utahns, we are very proud of our lawns. What we could be proud of is our water conservation.
Overall, the presentation was excellent. I had no idea that we were using that much water per person. They also had a lot of ideas on how to improve. One of the sites they had up as an additional resource is localscapes.com. I’ll be visiting that site and trying to plan out my yard. I have two large grass areas in my front yard and I want to see some examples of how I can turn that into low impact landscape.
You should check it out to, along with some of the sites in the picture above, to see what you can do to make a difference.
You should also go to the next open house in your area. Here is a list of all the open houses going on in the next couple of weeks:
Tuesday, Oct. 2 – St. George – Social Hall (212 N Main)
Wednesday, Oct. 3 – Richfield – Sevier County Fair Grounds Auditorium (410 E 200 S)
Thursday, Oct. 4 – Moab – Grand County Middle School (439 S 100 E)
Tuesday, Oct. 9 – Clearfield – North Davis County Library (562 S 1000 E)
Monday, Oct. 15 – Murray – Hillcrest Junior High School (178 E 5300 S)
Tuesday, Oct. 16 – Logan – Logan Library (225 Main)
If you can’t attend one of these events – you should definitely go online and take the Regional Water Conservation Survey here – surveymonkey.com/r/localgoals.