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Why should you conserve water?

There are many good reasons to conserve water.

Although water conservation helps, some people have misconceptions about what water conservation can and can't do. At the bottom of this page, you can learn the facts and help dispel some common conservation myths.

Additionally, you can now see what Utahns have to say about water conservation. If we all work together to conserve water, we can help assure a bright and prosperous life for future generations. Become an advocate of conservation in your community. Help promote conservation as a wise and important water management principle.
Help Meet Future Needs
Currently, Utah consumes about 260 gallons per person per day (gpcd), second only to Nevada. If Utahns can reduce per-capita consumption of water 25 percent by 2050, they will conserve the equivalent of over 500,000 acre-feet of water per year. That is more water than can be held in Jordanelle Reservoir and Deer Creek Reservoir combined, and more than any water project in Utah has developed.

Without water conservation, we would have to develop a large volume of new water. With conservation, some water development projects can be postponed or delayed by several years.

Save Money
Conserving water saves you money! Not only will your water bill go down, but as you heat less water, your gas or energy bill will also decline. If your whole community conserves, you will also pay less fees for water-related services. Water conserving communities will not need to pay as much to develop new supplies and expand or upgrade water and wastewater infrastructure.

We Live in a Desert
With the exception of the western portion of Washington, Oregon, and northern California, the western United States is arid and receives less annual precipitation than the rest of the nation. Next to Nevada, Utah receives the least precipitation - only 13 inches!

Because of Utah's arid climate, Utahns water their landscapes extensively to keep them lush and green. Most apply more water than needed. These landscapes, often composed of non-native plants from wetter regions, consume over half of Utah's municipal water supply and equates to 2/3 of a typical residential homeowners use.

Preserve the Environment
Water is the life-blood of Utah's environment. From lush mountain meadows to harsh desert valleys, water holds everything together--making the land inhabitable by people and wildlife.

As Utah's population grows, the strains placed upon the environment and its critical ecosystems will increase. Conserving water will help preserve the environment by minimizing necessary diversions and decreasing pollution.

Conservation Myths
"If we conserve enough water, we don't need to develop any more."

Even if we drastically reduced the watering of our urban landscapes, projected population growth would eventually make new water development necessary. Although conservation can delay the need, it does not eliminate it.

Furthermore, when a community is able to conserve a lot of water and delay its own infrastructure needs, that does not automatically "free-up" the saved water to satisfy the needs of another community. The community retains the right to use the water for its future growth needs.

"Water conservation will cost water suppliers needed revenue."

If a water supplier uses a conservation-oriented "tiered" rate structure, it will not lose the revenue needed to meet its financial obligations. Such rate structures separate fixed costs associated with providing water (bonds, capital investments, personal, etc.) from the variable costs (pumping, treatment, etc.). A supplier can accomplish this by charging a base rate regardless of the amount of water used and a separate rate for the actual water consumed.

"If we don't use the water, it just flows out to the Great Salt Lake and is wasted."

Once water reaches the Great Salt Lake, it is true that it is no longer fit for irrigation or drinking water purposes. However, the lake is home to many mineral extraction and brine shrimp industries and is a unique and valuable ecosystem. Great Salt Lake is North America's largest inland sea and is internationally recognized as an important resting and nesting area for millions of migratory birds. The water that reaches the lake also passes through Utah's most significant collection of wetlands, creating some of the state's most diverse and productive wildlife habitat.

"Conservation will require us to make major changes in lifestyle."

A significant level of water conservation can be achieved without major changes in lifestyle. Simply watering landscapes properly (the majority of homeowners "waste" water by over watering their landscapes by up to 30%) and utilizing efficient plumbing fixtures and appliances in the home can reduce the per-capita water use by at least 25 percent.