SALT LAKE CITY, Utah (ABC4 Utah) “Water is key to our economy” is the message from Governor Gary Herbert’s water strategy advisory team in a 200 page report released Wednesday.
“Utah is going to continue to grow and grow dramatically,” Gov. Herbert said.
After years of analyzing Utah’s water future, the State Water Strategy Advisory Team gave their official recommendations to Governor Herbert.
“There is no silver bullet solution that will allow us to double or triple our population and still maintain our current water use, quality of life, and healthy natural environment,” Rep. Timothy Hawkes, advisory co-chair said.
Utah is the second driest state in the US. With an estimated six million people expected to live in Utah by 2060, state leaders, lawmakers and water agencies will have to make tough decisions.
“In the fastest growing state in America today, water plays a very significant role in our ability to, in fact, grow,” Gov. Herbert said.
Governor Herbert admits that the only limiting factor to Utah’s growth is water.
The team recommends protecting the water we do have, while planning for and funding the future. There is also a call for better research and data on water and the impact of climate change.
“The future will force us to make hard choices and become ever more careful in the way we conserve and allocate ever-more precious resources,” Rep. Hawkes said.
The Salt Lake Chamber released a statement on the new water plan: “The state’s plan represents an important step to meeting our long-term water needs, protecting our current water resources and making disciplined investments.”