Earlier in February, before the surprise snowfall gave Central Utah Water Conservancy District a burst of hope, temperatures rose into the 50′s, the spring-like weather tempered by a little rain. It was a far cry from a year ago, when record snowfalls nearly buried central Utah’s stop signs for months.
Last year’s accumulation also created a spring run-off that ended the region’s six-year drought and filled its reservoirs. And the lack of snow this year – ski resorts that usually had 400 inches of snow reported 30 inches this year, much of it man-made – could bring water restrictions this summer and beyond.
It’s a big issue, and though conservation precautions taken last year should carry the district through the shortfall, it’s time to go the extra mile when it comes to using water wisely.
While many households have water-efficient toilets and showers now, and a smart controller keeping sprinklers on course, it’s going to take more to meet Utahns’ water needs if this continues. It calls for Utah’s good citizens to start monitoring their water footprint and making lifestyle changes that will lower their impact on our water supply.
Where do you begin? Check out National Geographic’s water footprint calculator, a candid look that takes into account how far you drive, how often you eat meat or how you shop in finding how many gallons of water you use every day. That six gallons of water that goes into a gallon of gas – 1,000 gallons for a gallon of ethanol – might make you investigate public transportation! And don’t get us started on how much we simply throw away, especially when you consider food waste.
We usually don’t associate these lifestyle choices with water conservation, but it’s an area we need to pursue. It’s not going to be as easy as taking a few minutes off your shower time but in years like this, it’s going to make a lasting impact.
It’s our civic responsibility and sometimes, it takes a year like this to realize we need to step up and go that extra mile. And just as importantly, we need to teach our children by example, to ensure enough for our grandchildren down the road.
At CUWCD, we’re standing by your side, tapping new sources and sharing tips (such as in our water-efficient landscaping courses at Central Utah Gardens) to lower your water use. By making better choices, we can make this work!