2005 UTAH WATER CONSERVATION SYMPOSIUM
THE FUTURE OF WATER CONSERVATION IN UTAH
April 14, 2005
Orbit Irrigation Products, Inc.
845 North Overland Road
North Salt Lake
Dianne Nielson (Moderator), Executive Director, Utah Department of Environmental Quality
Steven E. Clyde, Clyde Snow Sessions & Swenson Law Firm
Stephanie Duer, Water Conservation Program Coordinator, SLC Public Utilities
Merritt Frey, Executive Director, Utah Rivers Council
Nancy Hardman, Conservation Programs Coordinator, Central Utah Water Conservancy District
Erik Klotz, Section Chief, Division of Water Resources, Utah Department of Natural Resources
Joe Whittaker, President, Utah Water Conservation Forum
Orbit Irrigation Products thanks you for participating in the 2005 Utah Water Conservation Symposium, which focused on long-term conservation of a precious resource in a desert state with natural cycles of drought and abundant precipitation. As Dianne Nielson, Executive Director of the Utah Department of Environmental Quality, remarked, "Your presence here acknowledges the need for greater collaboration in the public and private sectors in order to create a culture of conservation in our state.” The Symposium was an opportunity to look at what has been done well and what could be improved, as well as to consider new ideas and strategies. The following is a summary of comments and questions raised during the Symposium. The summary consists of nine main categories, as outlined below.
The entire transcript is available either electronically or as a paper copy by contacting mkl public relations at firstname.lastname@example.org -or- 801.328.8899.
Integral to long-range conservation plans is planning for growth within the state so that we can meet not only our current water needs sufficiently, but those of the future
- Water is the only limiting factor in the future growth of our state. We need to have adequate supplies of water to accommodate that growth and protect our quality of life.
- Half of what Utah will need must come from conservation efforts. It is not a matter of simply developing what we are going to need in the future; it is conserving and stretching what we already have.
- With the population growth that Utah is experiencing, potential supply is not increasing, but demand is increasing exponentially.
The key to improving long-term conservation efforts is to reinforce the fact that Utah's ecosystems are inherently arid
- There is concern that the conservation measures put in place during the last six years of drought might be replaced with a growing misperception that we now have a significant over abundance of water.
- The bottom line is that conservation is essential, drought or no drought.
- It is not about the drought; it"s about where we live.
- We get less rainfall than Arizona does, yet people always think of Arizona as a desert.
Ongoing dedication to active conservation efforts is integral to maintaining the good practices established during the heavy drought years, and the best way to encourage those good practices is to set a good example
- Plants and agriculture do not waste water. People do.
- It’s critical that our actions match our words. It’s not enough to go out into the community and say, “Here’s a conservation plan, water less.” It’s important to look at our own behavior in using water, what our local and state governments are doing, and what is happening at our workplaces.
- The best teaching is through example.
- As we discuss expanding conservation plans and messaging, public agencies must go out of their way to do the right thing, whether or not anyone else is doing it.
- We should encourage people to look at other options, but not dictate that they take out their lawns.
- It is important to show recognition and appreciation when and where real conservation work has been implemented.
- How do we avoid having “one-size-fits-all” regulations that do not prompt unintended negative consequences? Every community is different, and everyone’s water needs are different.
- In the municipal context, almost anytime you conserve water, you are reducing the quantity of water reaching streams by way of sewage efforts. You may also be causing quality concerns related to putting more concentrated quantities and materials back into the water systems.
- Involving municipalities in dialogue could be helpful in avoiding solving a problem for one community that creates a problem for another.
- By showcasing individual sites where an effort has been made to put in alternatives to irrigation-dependent lawns, we have an opportunity to “push the rope, rather than pull it.” By physically showing what little maintenance is needed - compared to traditional lawns – we can set an example that will spread throughout our communities.
- Let’s make conserving water a fad in our neighborhoods.
- It’s easy to figure out how to kill a lawn. It is a lot more difficult to figure out what to put in its place, how to keep weeds out, and how to maintain an attractive yard. Demonstration gardens and areas are a good model for others to follow.
- A competition between cities in Utah - or other states (e.g. between Utah and Arizona or Nevada) – to see which city conserved the highest percentage of water, as compared to the previous year, could involve entire communities in conservation efforts, as well as generate significant interest.
- Another approach to consider is asking our children how we should talk about water conservation.
- The challenge is to make water conservation fashionable