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Utah’s Draft 2019 Regional Conservation Plan

September 15, 2019
by John Weisheit

30-Day Public Comment Period ends on September 25, 2019

Mission of Utah Division of Water Resources: Plan, conserve, develop and protect Utah's water resources.

Regional Water Conservation Goals

The State of Utah is seeking public input through September 25 on newly established regional goals and practices 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.

As recommended by the 2015 Legislative Audit, 2017 Follow-up Audit, Third-Party Review, and 2017 Recommended State Water Strategy, regional water conservation goals were developed to enhance water conservation efforts around the state. Given Utah’s diverse geography, establishing region-specific goals makes sense. These goals are created for nine regions around the state and take into account climate, elevation, and each region’s unique characteristics and needs. This is the first time conservation goals have been established on a regional level and they build on the previously established statewide goal of reducing per-capita use by 25% by 2025, (using the 2000 M&I water use report as a starting value).

Thanks to the efforts of many Utahns and their water providers, per capita water use has declined by at least 18%. We’ve made significant progress, but there is still more to be done to accomplish these goals including policy and ordinance changes on state, local and municipal levels. Even with all the progress that has been made, balanced efforts both in water development and water conservation are still necessary to meet Utah’s long-term water needs.

How did this project come about?

After the 2015 legislative audit recommended tailoring water conservation goals by region, the Division of Water Resources started gathering public input to formulate new goals. Over 1,650 people shared their opinions on a water conservation survey. Open houses were held in eight different regions across the state. After public input was tallied, a team consisting of water providers, members from the Governor’s Office of Management and Budget, and Division of Water Resources staff worked for many months with a third-party consultant to provide input on region-specific M&I water conservation goals. These goals will help guide the state’s water industry in planning future infrastructure, policies, and programs consistent with Utah’s semiarid climate and growing demand for water. We invite you to take a look and share your thoughts.

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