SALT LAKE CITY — In a statement Wednesday, The Church of Jesus Christ of Latter-day Saints shared their plan to reduce water usage at meetinghouses, temples and other church-owned properties as drought conditions continue to blanket the Western United States.
"In all regions and circumstances, we teach that we have a responsibility to care for and gratefully use what God has given, avoid wasting resources and wisely use the bounty of the earth to care for one another," the statement reads in part.
Officials with the church explained that in buildings constructed within the last two decades, water-wise irrigation and plumbing systems have been installed to save water. Older systems continue to be retrofitted in order to cut back on water.
In addition to investing in water efficient elements, landscaping in some areas will become brown and dormant as church officials cut back on watering at different properties.
"Watering of lawns and landscapes at temples, meetinghouses and other buildings is being reduced," the statement reads. "In some cases, landscape will be permitted to brown and become dormant."
Church leaders explained that plans are in the works to identify landscape changes that will permanently reduce water usage by opting for native plants and low utility lawns.
Utah Governor Spencer Cox spoke out Thursday about the church's water conservation efforts, saying the organization has the ability to make a large impact.
"That’s exactly the right tact we need the church to take," Cox said. "All landowners in the state, especially large land holdings like the church, can have a huge impact on water conservation and we certainly appreciate that gesture by the church."
Church officials also encouraged others to also participate in the effort to reduce water in whatever way possible.
“We all play a part in preserving the critical resources needed to sustain life — especially water — and we invite others to join us in reducing water use wherever possible," church officials stated. "We gladly join with friends of other faiths in prayer to our Heavenly Father for rain and respite from the devastating drought.”