Utah has a new set of water conservation goals.
The Utah Division of Water resources finalized the regional water conservation goals at the end of November, incorporating more than 330 comments from the public comment period from Aug. 27 to Sept. 25. Surveys were also conducted in fall 2018, garnering responses from 1,650 people.
“We appreciate all those who took the time to review the goals and share their opinions,” said Eric Millis, Division of Water Resources director, in a press release. “There were some insightful comments, which were incorporated into the report. There is always value in soliciting public input.”
No changes were made to the goals after the public comment period, but Utah’s water conservation goals report has been clarified and updated, including the addition of all 334 comments and the division’s responses to them, the press release said.
The goals are for municipal and industrial use, the release said. They exclude agriculture, mining and power generation.
While this is far from the first time that that state has made plans to conserve water, it is the first time water conservation goals have been made at a regional level, according to the press release.
The regional goals take into consideration “climate, elevation and each region’s characteristics,” according to a map of the regions on the water goals web page.
Tailored goals were determined for nine regions in the state.
Northern Utah is comprised of two of the nine regions. The Weber River region includes Weber, Davis, Morgan and Summit counties. The Bear River region includes Box Elder, Cache and Rich counties.
Under these new regional goals, the Weber River region will aim to reduce its per capita water use by 20% over a period of 15 years, from 250 gallons per capita per day (gpcd) in 2015 to 200 gpcd by 2030.
The goals go up as time goes on — by 2040, the Weber River region will aim for a 26% reduction, to 184 gpcd. By 2065, the region will aim to limit per capita water use to 175 gallons per day, a reduction of 30%.
The Weber River region has some of the highest goals in the state. It shares its 2030 goal of a 20% reduction in per capita water use with three other regions: Provo River, Sevier River and Upper Colorado River.
The region’s 2065 goal is surpassed by only one region, Provo River, which will try for a 32% reduction in water usage by that year. No other region’s goal matches Weber River’s goal of reducing water use 30% by 2065.
The Bear River region’s goals are slightly less aggressive than the Weber River region, and its baseline use is higher. This region will aim to reduce its water use by 18% over 15 years, from 304 gpcd in 2015 to 249 gpcd in 2030.
By 2040, the region will aim to reduce water use by 24% from 2015 levels, from 304 to 232 gpcd. By 2065, the Bear River goal goes up to 28% from 2015, from 304 to 219 gpcd.
These regional goals replace Gov. Gary Herbert’s statewide goal of reducing water use 25% by 2025, a modification of former Gov. Mike Leavitt’s 2000 goal to reduce statewide water use 25% by 2050, the release said.