Utah’s rivers could lose water at an alarming rate without conservation

Jun 26, 2024, 7:00 PM

The Colorado River is pictured by Dead Horse Point State Park in Grand County on Friday, April 26, ...

The Colorado River is pictured by Dead Horse Point State Park in Grand County on Friday, April 26, 2024. (Kristin Murphy, Deseret News)

(Kristin Murphy, Deseret News)

SALT LAKE CITY — Utah’s rivers are in danger of losing millions of gallons of water over the next few decades.

Our reservoirs have been busy collecting as much water as they can, but heavy demands on supply remain. General manager Scott Paxman with the Weber Basin Water Conservancy District says landscaping is a huge tax on our water. Paxman says simply decreasing the amount of times we water our yards — or at least making it more efficient — can save both money and thousands of gallons of water.

“About 60 to 67% of the water we use in our homes or at our homes is used outdoors on our landscape,” Paxman said.

If we don’t conserve water, then Paxman warned our grandkids won’t be able to continue living in Utah down the road. Paxman says we use thousand of gallons to water our yards. Replacing sod or lowering the amount of times we water during the week can vastly decrease our water usage.

The district offers sod-replacement incentives for anyone willing to part ways with their grass.

Paxman says Utah’s precipitation amount may not change over the next thirty years, but how we get it could.

“We just have to store it differently,” Paxman said, “We might have to store more water during rainstorms instead of waiting for that spring melt of snow pack.”

Either way, he says if communities don’t pull together to conserve, then Utah’s future is very much in question.


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Utah’s rivers could lose water at an alarming rate without conservation