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Water managers: Population growth will drain Utah’s water if habits don’t change

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Posted at 6:22 PM, Mar 27, 2018
and last updated 2018-03-27 22:06:44-04

SALT LAKE CITY - Utah's not in crisis, but water managers worry that crisis could become the norm as population booms unless Utahns become a lot better at conserving water.

"Our first line of attack on that is conservation, is not being wasteful with the water that we do have," said Faye Rutishauser, the State of Utah Water Conservation Coordinator.

Rutishauser met with other water experts at Snowbird Resort on Tuesday.

Snowbird is a business partner in the Slow the Flow program which encourages conservation around Utah. They have made water conservation a part of their day to day operation under the guidance of a water resource and sustainability manager named Hilary Arens.

Arens says the resort has conserving technology inside and uses the most efficient technology available to make snow.

"We're holding the snowpack here so it doesn't all at once go into the reservoirs in the springtime," said Arens.

Rutishauser says population on the Wasatch Front is expected to grow by 170 percent in the next fifty years, with Washington County population growing 200 percent.

Bart Forsyth, Assistant Manager with the Jordan Valley Water Conservancy District says population growth will mean that even good water years will be unsustainable unless Utahns start using less water on their lawns and in their homes.

"We cannot reliably, sustainably provide a water supply without significant water conservation moving into the future," said Forsyth.

Slowtheflow.org has tips on conserving water at home, and the Jordan Valley Conservancy will unveil a new website with rebates for home conservation in May. It will be utahwatersavers.com.