How your business can help the drought
The heatwave and drought should be on everyone’s mind. Water reserves are shrinking, rain isn’t falling, and wildfires are beginning to rage. Utah has been dubbed the thirstiest state in the union due to secondary water usage for lawns, gardens, and landscaping. Utah gets roughly 5-12 inches of rain per year, yes per year, leaving our snowpack or lack thereof to fill in the gap for our water needs. Add this to the fact that Utahns consume more water per gallon than almost any other state and things are looking grim.
Governor Cox has asked Utahns to pray for rain to alleviate the drought but more can be done by the business community to protect and conserve this precious natural resource. To that end, the State of Utah and Salt Lake Chamber is asking businesses to take the Water Champions H2Oath to be water-wise. This pledge provides business leaders action items to follow right away and acts as a guiding light for Utahns’ water conservation.
By taking the Water Champions H2Oath, businesses pledge to:
- Use the Utah Division of Water Resources as a resource to implement water-efficient methods, technologies, and practices
- Adopt the conservewater.utah.gov Weekly Lawn Watering Guide and limit watering landscapes between 10:00 am and 6:00 pm, which supports Governor Spencer J. Cox’s executive order to state facilities
- Audit and repair all landscape irrigation systems so they are operating at maximum acceptable efficiency
- Implement leak-detection and repair programs for both indoor and outdoor water use
- Shut off systems manually during rain and wind events in areas without rain and wind sensors
- Evaluate opportunities to:
- Fix irrigation inefficiencies and update irrigation technology with devices that are WaterSense certified and include rain and wind shutoff functions and soil moisture sensors
- Limit turf areas surrounding facilities and replace turf with water-wise plants
- Conduct periodic checks of restrooms, boiler rooms, etc., to ensure appliances are working at maximum efficiency, and replace inefficient plumbing fixtures with WaterSense certified low-flow fixtures
- Update facility-management technology to include metering for water-consuming processes related to irrigation, domestic, and mechanical systems
- Be an advocate of water efficiency by setting an example and helping to educate friends and neighbors on the importance of water conservation, including reducing indoor water waste
These are a series of measures to not only conserve water but to change our minds and usage patterns around its importance. A collective effort of statewide business stakeholders will show all citizens how important water stewardship is. You may have seen the headlines on how Cape Town, South Africa citizens have been restricted to only 13 gallons per day and 90-second showers. In Utah, we currently use around 167 gallons per day and average 9-minute showers. What’s happening in South Africa should be a wake-up call for all of us.
We made it through the pandemic by pulling together and committing to remaining safe and open. We are in a water crisis with implications as serious as those of the pandemic. Water is essential for public health and necessary for many components of sanitization. Now is the time to forever change the way we think about water.
A Wallace Stegner quote comes to mind, “Faith cannot only move mountains but reclaim deserts.” By pulling and working together, we can reclaim our high mountain desert by changing how we use what we have and placing a newfound appreciation on things we often take for granted.