SALT LAKE CITY, Utah (ABC4) – There is still plenty of work to do to end the drought but according to the Utah Department of Natural Resources (DNR), Utahns have been doing well in slowing the flow and saving H2O.
In September 2021, 88% of the state was considered to be in an “extreme drought” or worse. Today, that number has dropped significantly to 56.6%.
The Salt Lake City area has reported a high level of community engagement in conservation efforts. In a combined effort of water checks, using low-water grass seed, rain barrels, and incentive programs, Salt Lake City saved 2.9 billion gallons of water.
“The efforts that the legislature, residents, and municipalities have made are working,” said the director of the Division of Water Resources, Candice Hasenyager. “This helps us keep water in our reservoirs for future years.”
In an update on Utah drought conditions, the Utah DNR reported that the Beehive state’s reservoirs are at the same levels as they were in 2021. At the beginning of the season, the levels were “much lower” meaning Utahns have drawn less water from the reservoirs compared to last year.
Water usage did increase at the end of August and the beginning of September, as Utah experienced a relentless record-breaking heatwave. But despite that, the DNR reports that Utahns across the state helped save billions of gallons of water overall.
“Drought or no drought, we need to use our water supply responsibly,” commented Hasenyager.
Utahns have been more conscious about their use of the state’s limited water supply. Across the state, people have been taking advantage of the Utah Water Savers program that was introduced in 2018.
The program offers many services including rebates for Utahns that buy a smart controller that can help reduce water waste by automatically adjusting how often and how long lawns are watered based on local weather and conditions. It also includes rebates to replace old toilets for more eco-friendly toilets that use less water per flush.
According to the DNR, Utah Water Savers have processed 23,460 smart irrigation controller rebates and 3,000 toilet rebates.
While Utahns have definitely been more proactive in water conservation, there is still a lot of work to be done before Utah’s drought can officially end.
The Great Salt Lake is still on a decline and is expected to continue to shrink through October. Reservoirs are looking healthier as mentioned before, but 35 of the state’s 47 reservoirs are still below 55% available capacity.
Utahns looking to how they can do their part in helping conserve water can visit slowtheflow.org.