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Utah water 'shaming' website returns as drought continues

Posted at 11:14 AM, Jul 08, 2022
and last updated 2022-07-08 13:34:30-04

SALT LAKE CITY — With most of Utah currently under extreme or exceptional drought conditions, every drop of water counts across the state. So once again, officials have opened a portal to report water wasters who are abusing the valuable resource.

The air is dry, it is hot and it’s going to be some time until we see new water falling from the sky.

It is one of our most precious resources, and right now it is scarce in many places with residents being asked to conserve.

Utahns are also being asked to be the eyes and ears of the community by filing reports on water wasters with the Division of Water Resources. Maybe it's a neighbor watering their lawn after a storm, or a business isn't fixing a broken sprinkler.

Once again, the "Hall of Fame or Shame" website that debuted in 2017 has gone live, although this year the name has been changed to just "Report Water Waste."

Issues sent to the site are then forwarded to the local water districts.

"It raises awareness, mostly, that if we can educate people on the proper ways to irrigate and when to irrigate, and when not to, it also helps inform the water supplier as far as what is going on," said Candace Hasenyager, Director of the Utah Division of Water Resources.

Complaints on the portal range from people watering lawns for several straight days to watering during the day.

Last year, officials said they received about 8,000 reports, with this year's tally at about 2,100 complaints. It's unclear why the number of reports has tailed off from a year ago, but officials hope it’s a sign that people are conserving more.

Hasenyager said the site isn't intended for people to be tattletales and no one has ever been publicly shamed.

"We try not to post the negative things. It's mainly to inform the water supplier."