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Gov. Cox: Utahns doing good job conserving water but more needs to be done

Posted at 11:58 AM, Jul 29, 2021
and last updated 2021-07-29 18:53:06-04

WEST JORDAN, Utah — Right now the entire state of Utah is under extreme or exceptional drought conditions.

Governor Spencer Cox at a news conference Thursday says so far Utahns are doing a good job conserving water but we need to do more.

The governor and his administration, along with local conservation experts say we need to look to the future but also to the past to save more of our most precious commodity, water.

One of the items high on his agenda is installing secondary water meters throughout the entire state.

READ: All of Utah now under worst drought categories

“That has to be a priority for us! About 1/3 of residential connections use secondary or untreated water and the majority of these connections still are not metered, you can’t manage what you can’t measure," said Cox.

The governor also says with Utah being one of the fastest growing states in terms of population and construction development, we need much better land use planning going forward.

“We are enlisting the help of local officials in adopting water efficiency standards for new development. So really, our goal is all new development will be water wise development in the state of Utah, let’s at least start there those are easy changes to make," said Cox.

But the governor says we also need to make sure we are only planting new grass where it is utilized and not make it the fall back ground cover.

SEE MORE: Utah's historic drought

And he says we need to look backwards a little bit and help folks with things like turf buyback programs.

Several communities now offer incentives to flip your strip, taking out your park strip so you don’t have to water it and put in some sort of rock or mulch groundcover and or drought tolerant plants.

“The lieutenant governor and I, our administration, want us to be the first state to offer a state wide turf buyback program and we really want to expand this over the next few years,” said Cox. "And last but certainly not least working with farmers to help them make better use of their water so they can reduce water consumption and still have a profitable yield."

It is an ambitious agenda but he says we need to get started on it ASAP.