Utah’s Division of Water Resources drowning in water use reports

Utah Drought

HESPERIA, CA – JULY 28: Sprinklers water the lawns of a new housing development July 28, 2005 in Hesperia, California. California’s demand for water will jump by 40 percent over the next 25 years according to a study released this week by the Public Policy Institute of California. Half of all the water used by inland homeowners, where growth is booming, goes to irrigating yards, compared to one third or less in the cooler coastal regions. (Photo by David McNew/Getty Images)

(ABC4) – Utah’s Division of Water Resources is drowning in reports from their water use reporting system.

The Hall of Fame or Shame has been around for years, but the division has seen a significant spike in reports in 2021. Utah is currently experiencing a severe drought, resulting in executive orders and local water use restrictions.

The system allows users to either issue a compliment (fame) or complaint (shame) about water use they have observed.

LAKE POWELL, UT – MARCH 28: A bleached “bathtub ring” is visible on the rocky banks of Lake Powell on March 28, 2015 in Lake Powell, Utah. As severe drought grips parts of the Western United States, a below average flow of water is expected to enter Lake Powell and Lake Mead, the two biggest reservoirs of the Colorado River Basin. (Photo by Justin Sullivan/Getty Images)

Marcie McCartney, communications, water efficiency, and education manager at the Utah Division of Water Resources, says The Hall of Fame or Shame has been a very positive tool for reporting water use.

“No public shaming occurs. We don’t accept pictures, and this is a water-user education effort,” McCartney explains.

When someone submits a complaint, it gets sent to a local water provider, who decides from there how to educate and resolve the problem, according to Kim Wells, public information officer for the division.

The reporting system was created to give people a productive way to report water use issues and raise awareness rather than posting water-shaming complaints on social media, Wells tells ABC4.

Since the system was first created in May 2017, the division has received 7,421 reports total. 6,307 of those reports were received in 2021 alone and of those reports, 5,823 were received between June 8, 2021 to the present, blowing previous years out of the water.

For example, 2020 saw a grand total of 167 reports, while 2018 and 2019 saw about 360 reports each. Water conservation is clearly on Utahns’ minds. Here are tips from conservewater.utah.gov on how to save this important resource at home.

Indoors:

Kitchen:

  • When washing dishes by hand, fill one side of the sink or a bowl with soapy water and the other side with clean water for rinsing. This saves more water than leaving the faucet running while you clean.
  • Thaw frozen foods in a bowl of water in the refrigerator instead of leaving them under running water.
  • Use one drinking cup each day so the dishwasher doesn’t fill up as quickly.
  • Run the dishwasher only when it is full. A full cycle can use up to 15 gallons of water.
  • Store drinking water in a pitcher in the refrigerator so you don’t have to let the water run while it reaches the right temperature.

Bathroom:

  • Turn the faucet off while brushing your teeth or shaving.
  • Take short showers – five-minute showers use about 30 gallons.
  • Use an ultra low-flow showerhead.

Laundry:

  • Consider switching to a high-efficiency washing machine, which reduces water use by 40 to 60%.
  • Do not wash clothes until they need it.
  • Only clean full loads of laundry.

Outdoors:

Use sprinkler only when needed: Did you know your yard doesn’t need to be watered daily? Water your yard once every three days, utahrivers.org says. Water dry patches of your lawn with a hose rather than with the entire sprinkler system. According to SLC Green, watering your yard before 8 a.m. and after 8 p.m. ensures the most water gets to your yard because it is less likely to evaporate before the warmest times of the day.

Don’t water the sidewalk: Are people who walk past your yard getting sprayed from the sprinkler system? Adjust sprinklers so that the water reaches your yard where it is needed. Replace sprinklers that are broken, clogged, or not working correctly.

Harvest rain water: Catch water in rain barrels or collect it from your roof and gutters to water your yard.

For more tips on how to save water, visit conservewater.utah.govUtah Rivers Council, and SLCgreen Blog.

Visit ABC4 Weather for Utah drought updates.

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