NewsUtah Drought


Intermountain Healthcare announces plan to save 17 million gallons of water each year through landscaping changes

Posted at 10:18 AM, Apr 19, 2022
and last updated 2022-04-20 18:32:13-04

SALT LAKE CITY — Intermountain Healthcare on Tuesday announced plans to save millions of gallons of water each year through changes to landscaping on its properties, as the state of Utah and the Western United States continues to face a megadrought.

Through landscaping changes at hospitals and clinics across Utah, Intermountain hopes to save 17.5 million gallons of water annually.

The announcement comes the day after Utah's governor warned that a new state of emergency for the drought is likely coming soon.

Governor Spencer Cox noted that almost all of Utah is in severe drought already.

"We knew there was a need to reduce our water usage," said Keith Pennington, Landscaping Supervisor for Intermountain Healthcare. "We need to take the lead in conservation efforts."

Pennington is the hospital’s landscaping supervisor. He’s tasked with creating more environmentally friendly spaces outside of Intermountain facilities.

Intermountain believes the project delivers more than water savings.

"We realize when it comes to health care and healing and wellness, it doesn't happen inside those walls strictly it happens here in the parking lot, happens in communities where we live," said Glen Garrick System Sustainability Director at Intermountain. "That's where I want to see other organizations take that leap. There is more you can do. use this land to help and heal people."

He hopes other companies emulate these steps that, in the short term, will help combat the drought and, in the long term, make the community a better place.

As of Monday, 99% of Utah was listed in severe drought. On top of that, about 38% of the state was in "extreme" drought. The state's water conditions have improved a little over last year when the governor declared a state of emergency due to drought.

Intermountain said at five hospitals had already been updated with xeriscaping and high-tech irrigation systems that reduce watering and detect leaks.

According to the statement, Intermountain Riverton Hospital had already seen the biggest change as crews removed more than 10 acres of grass, which is expected to save 9.2 million gallons of water and more than $120,000 in maintenance costs each year.