‘Fame or Shame?’: Governor addresses Utah’s drought response

Local News

SALT LAKE CITY (ABC4) – With temperatures soaring and reservoir levels dropping, local water measures are in effect in many places despite no comprehensive conservation plan from the Utah government.

It seems to many that the state has been handling the drought on a wing and a prayer.

“We need some divine intervention,” Governor Spencer Cox said in a video released earlier this month. “That’s why I’m asking Utahns of all faiths to join me in a weekend of prayer June 4 through the 6th.”

On Thursday, Cox addressed the backlash to that appeal.

“There were a lot of people who said ‘Hey, why are you asking for us to pray for rain when we should be conserving more?’ and they’re right. We should be conserving more,” he said during his monthly news conference. “We will be working with the legislature, preparing for the coming session on some fairly significant, what we hope will be significant improvements to conservation efforts across the state.”

One thing the state has done is to set up an online water use reporting tool called the Hall of Fame or Shame where you can anonymously turn in your neighbors for wasting H20.

The Division of Water Resources tells ABC4 News the Hall has received 3,441 reports this year: 58, or 1.7% are compliments for responsible use. 3,381, or 98.3 % are complaints about excessive irrigation. The Water Division forwards those to local water districts for enforcement, including possible fines.

“Enforcement for water violations happen at the local water district level, and some districts are better at enforcement than others, but what I can tell you is that most water districts are ramping up their enforcement right now,” the Governor said, citing the Weber Basin Water Conservancy District’s “three strikes” policy. “Three violations and your secondary water is turned off and so I can tell you that there is increasing enforcement that is happening.”

To report a neighbor for wasting water or to compliment one for responsible usage, click here.

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