New water conservation goals established, state seeks input

Regional goals for municipal and industrial (M&I) water conservation have been established for the first time in Utah. The State of Utah is seeking public comments on the project which will apply to all residential, commercial, institutional and industrial water users. (Graphic courtesy of Utah DNR)

SALT LAKE CITY — Utah State is seeking public input on newly established regional goals for municipal and industrial (M&I) water conservation. M&I includes residential, commercial, institutional (for example, schools and parks), and industrial water use, and excludes agriculture, mining and power generation.

Everyone is encouraged to view the new water conservation goals and submit online comment now through Sept. 25 at https://water.utah.gov/regional-conservation-goals/.

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 percent by 2025.

“We’ve made significant progress thanks to the water wise 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.”