SALT LAKE COUNTY – As drought conditions continue to get worse all over Utah, Governor Spencer Cox is calling in business owners and large companies to take the next step in conserving water. He’s asking them to pledge to make upgrades to their water systems and to be a better example to the rest of the community in his H2Oath campaign.
A dry 2020, a lack of precipitation in the spring and hot temperatures in the summer are leading Utah through the worst and most prolonged drought in recorded history, according to Governor Cox. He says roughly half of the reservoirs across the state are at half-capacity.
He says, “Several of them will run completely dry this year, for the first time.”
The governor has already asked everyone in the state to cut their lawn-watering to only twice a week, but now he’s asking business owners to publicly commit to taking the next step to conserve. He’s launching the Water Champion H2Oath, which he believes will help remind everyone how important it is to save water.
“[We can show] how we can make our buildings beautiful without using excessive water, without having lush, green grass everywhere,” Governor Cox says. “There are ways we can do this better.”
Officials say a lot of the state’s business and residential water goes to landscaping and too few people are thinking about ways they can limit their use. Merit Medical CEO Fred Lampropoulos says they’ll be getting rid of the grass on their main campus within the next 90 days and replace it with rock gardens, similar to what they have at their other locations.
Lampropoulos says, “I’ve ordered the consumption of water on our site to be reduced, immediately, to 50 percent.”
If business owners make the pledge, officials say they’ll be committing to:
- Use the Utah Division of Water Resources as a resource to implement water-efficient methods, technologies, and practices;
- Adopt the conservewater.utah.gov Weekly Lawn Watering Guide and limit watering landscapes between 10:00 a.m. and 6:00 p.m., which supports Governor Spencer J. Cox’s executive order to state facilities;
- Audit and repair all landscape irrigation systems so they are operating at maximum acceptable efficiency;
- Implement leak-detection and repair programs for both indoor and outdoor water use;
- Shut off systems manually during rain and wind events in areas without rain and wind sensors;
- Evaluate opportunities to:
- Fix irrigation inefficiencies and update irrigation technology with devices that are WaterSense certified and include rain and wind shutoff functions and soil moisture sensors;
- Limit turf areas surrounding facilities and replace turf with waterwise plants;
- Conduct periodic checks of restrooms, boiler rooms, etc., to ensure appliances are working at maximum efficiency, and replace inefficient plumbing fixtures with WaterSense certified low-flow fixtures;
- Update facility-management technology to include metering for water-consuming processes related to irrigation, domestic, and mechanical systems;
- Be an advocate of water efficiency by setting an example and help educate friends and neighbors on the importance of water conservation, and reduce indoor water waste.
Salt Lake Chamber President Derek Miller says everyone needs to manage how we use water now so we don’t have much larger problems in the near future.
“We’re asking business leaders to be an advocate for water efficiency by setting an example and help to educate friends and neighbors on the importance of water conservation,” Miller says.
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