Utah Division of Water Resources Launches H2Oath to Encourage Water Conservation

The Utah Division of Water Resources, a division within the Utah Department of Natural Resources, launched H2Oath: Utah’s Water-Wise Pledge, a water conservation initiative designed to increase further water conservation.

The pledge can be found at water.utah.gov/H2Oath.  

By participating in the pledge, families, businesses, government agencies and statewide organizations commit to increase their water conservation by following the DWRe’s Weekly Lawn Watering Guide throughout the 2016 watering season.

“By making small changes to our water use habits we can collectively improve our water conservation statewide,” said Eric Millis, DWRe director. “We recognize change begins with us. As a division and department we are excited to participate in this effort. We encourage citizens, businesses, government agencies and other organizations throughout Utah to participate by pledging and conserving.”

The division’s lawn watering guide is updated every week and is available at slowtheflow.org, as well as the division’s Facebook page and Twitter Account. A free Lawn Watering Guide App is also available for apple and android devices. The guide provides weekly lawn watering recommendations based on the prior week’s weather conditions and precipitation, as well as evapotranspiration data and predicted weather patterns for the upcoming week. The guide provides recommendations for each individual county.

In addition to following the Weekly Lawn Watering Guide, those who take the H2Oath commit to only water their lawns during cooler hours and to not water during or directly after a rain storm. Participants also commit to identify and fix leaks inside and outside their homes or businesses and cut back shower length by at least one minute.  

“The recommendations outlined in the H2Oath are simple, and yet can make a big difference,” said Eric Klotz, DWRe conservation and education manager. “The statewide adherence to the lawn watering guide alone would result in water conservation to the tune of billions of gallons of water.” 

Pledging their support is the University of Utah, an institution that swells to the size of a mid-size city each day and is considered one of the largest water users in the Salt Lake Valley. The U has been aggressive and innovative in tackling water challenges, including taking significant steps in the past several years to reduce its water use by replacing grass with water-wise landscaping, grouping plants with similar water needs for more efficient watering, using a weather station to manage irrigation across campus and installing efficient plumbing fixtures in new buildings and replacing them in older buildings.

“We are constantly on the lookout for ways to be more responsible water users,” said Amy Wildermuth, chief sustainability officer at the U. “To that end, our landscape team, facilities teams, students and researchers have worked hard to provide novel and effective solutions. We have completed several water efficiency retrofit projects that have resulted in a reduction of annual water consumption of approximately 150 million gallons, and we are looking for even more reductions in the coming months and years.”

Also, supporting the pledge is Utah’s chapter of The Nature Conservancy, one of Utah’s foremost conservation and sustainability advocacy organizations.

“We are encouraged by this state-wide water conservation effort that reaches out to individuals, families and businesses to help solve one of our most pressing issues – enough water for both people and nature. Everyone pitching-in can help preserve our beautiful rivers and iconic places like the Great Salt Lake that also depend on having adequate water,” said David Livermore, Executive Director of The Nature Conservancy.

Another leader in the conservation and sustainability movement, Trout Unlimited, also through their weight behind the H2Oath.

“Trout Unlimited supports the Utah Division of Water Resources efforts to encourage Utah citizens to conserve water through the H20ath pledge and we will do our part to encourage all of our members statewide to take this pledge.  We recognize this as one critical step in the larger strategy to be more effective and efficient with water use across the state, and there is room to do even more with water conservation efforts and incentives.  Efficient water use isn’t sacrifice, it is accountability and we all bear responsibility in how we use water, said Paul Burnett, Utah Water Project Leader for Trout Unlimited. “Making the connection to our yards, water use and our rivers is important.  Trout Unlimited recognizes that that our rivers – our water supplies – provide a wide range of values to our communities.  Whether it is drinking water, recreational fishing, water recreation or irrigation.  Our rivers are one of the primary reasons why people chose to live in Utah and we have a responsibility to protect them and the water they provide so they continue being a basis for our economy.”

Additionally, general managers from Utah’s four largest water conservancy districts, including Central Utah, Jordan Valley, Weber Basin and Washington County are also participating in the pledge. These four water conservancy districts provide water to 85 percent of Utah’s population. The water conservancy districts will also ask the municipal partners and community leaders in their respective areas to sign the H2Oath, further extending the influence of this commitment.

Work throughout the summer will take place to gain pledges from as many citizens and influential people and organizations as possible. DWRe plans on spreading the word via social media and other means to bring positive attention to the need for additional water conservation. The state is close to achieving Governor Herbert’s goal of 25 percent conservation by 2025. While the state is making significant strides, more conservation will be needed to meet the needs of Utah’s growing population.

The H2Oath is active now and available online through fall 2016. In that timeframe, DWRe hopes to gain as many pledges as possible in order to further progress towards water conservation becoming one of Utah’s core ethics.