Due to recently reported low snowpack and water supply projections, Gov. Gary R. Herbert is encouraging Utahns to conserve water heading into the spring and summer months. The governor met with water supply experts from the Dept. of Natural Resources to get an update on current water supply conditions.
“With the dry winter we had, we all need to do our part to conserve,” said Gov. Herbert. “We need to be in conservation mode, but not crisis mode. We can do a great deal to help our situation by implementing conservation strategies during the spring and summer months.”
Despite being the second driest state in the nation, effective reservoir planning and conservation have resulted in a reasonably consistent water supply. Gov. Herbert also emphasized the importance of proactive initiatives to get out in front of the state’s water challenges, like drought and expected population increases over the next several years. Approximately two years ago, the governor created a Water Strategy Advisory Team. This diverse team was directed to produce a 50 year water strategy plan. The plan is anticipated to be complete at the end of 2015.
Eric Millis, advisory team member and Utah Division of Water Resources Director, praised the governor for his proactive approach to Utah’s water challenges.
“The governor recognizes a multifaceted challenge requires a multifaceted solution,” said Mills. “We can reach our water goals, but only if we are committed to responsible conservation, adequate water storage and persistent innovation.”
Due to the significant importance of water to Utah’s economy and the state budget, Gov. Herbert has directed his Office of Management and Budget (GOMB) to work collaboratively with the Water Resources Advisory Team, applicable state agencies, legislators, local governments, water districts, and conservation groups to gather and assess water-related information. The goal is to ensure the state meets its future infrastructure needs, while allowing market forces to better signal the value of water. GOMB will evaluate water funding mechanisms and where financial resources will have the biggest impact.
“The state’s level of financial involvement should align with what is prudent and sustainable long term, taking into consideration competing budgetary needs,” said the governor. “Moving forward, we should be open to new ideas and solutions. Innovation is a Utah value, and it is the key to ensuring our state’s water future.”