SALT LAKE CITY (ABC4) — Utah Gov. Spencer Cox and multiple state agencies have completed Utah’s Coordinated Action Plan for Water, which provides a roadmap for the future of water conservation in our state.
It’s 114 pages of detailed data describing current issues and potential solutions for our water crisis across Utah, with the goal of educating lawmakers and funding water conservation efforts. The report focused on conserving water, reforming agriculture, protecting watershed health, and improving aging water infrastructure.
“We have to act as if this is going to continue,” Cox said this afternoon at a press conference.
“The more information that we have the better decision that we can make and the better the outcome will be,” Utah Department of Natural Resources Executive Director Joel Ferry said.
Ferry said water conservation needs to be a priority for state funding, including aspects like secondary water meters, agreicultural water optimization, and turf buyback.
When it comes to agriculture, the report focused on optimizing water for farmers. Utah Commissioner of Agriculture and Food Craig W. Buttars said he wants to see that optimization happen while still helping farmers maintain their production at the same or even higher levels.
This report also focused on watershed health, which in turn means protecting our mountains and forests for our vital snow runoff. The costliest fix, however, is Utah’s water infrastructure.
“We need to be able to make investments in our drinking water infrastructure to be able to expand our infrastructure to serve future growth,” Utah Director of the Division of Drinking Water Tim Davis said.
The report said the state needs to invest nearly $2 billion in the short term to improve and sustain Utah’s water infrastructure through its continuous population growth. Ferry said the real cost could be as high as $40 billion across 30 years as Utah expects a population of 5 millkon people by 2050.