OGDEN — Weber State won the statewide “water war” challenge by a landslide, earning a $5,000 grant for the department or program most closely connected with water conservation.
As participants in the water war, colleges and universities recruit students and community members to take the “H20ath: Utah’s Water-Wise Pledge.” The Utah Division of Water Resources launched the pledge in 2016, the same year the first water war was held.
“Schools can really rack up big numbers by spreading the word through their social media, school newspaper or even announcing it at sporting events,” said Shelby Ericksen, water conservation coordinator with the Utah Division of Water Resources, in a press release. “We also encourage school leaders to take the pledge to reduce water use on campus.”
The pledge involves commitments to nine “water-wise” practices, including identifying and fixing leaks inside and outside the home, reducing shower time by at least 1 minute per shower and waiting until a dishwasher or washing machine is full to run a load.
For those who have lawns, there are also several commitments regarding lawn and landscape care, like following the weekly watering guide found on SlowTheFlow.org and not watering lawn or landscape at the hottest time of the day.
All nine practices can be found online at surveymonkey.com/r/H2Oath, where community members who wish to participate can also take the oath.
Wildcats and their supporters made up almost 40% of the total pledges —347 of 923 pledges made by supporters of the 10 participating colleges across the state, according to data provided by Marcie Larson, communications section manager for water efficiency and education at the Utah Division of Water Resources.
All of Utah’s public universities participated, as well as Salt Lake Community College, Westminster College and BYU.
Utah State came in second, with 249 pledges, almost 27% of the total number.
This isn’t surprising, considering that water war victories have been split evenly between Weber State and Utah State since the war began in 2016. Utah State won in 2016 and 2018, while Weber State won in 2017 and 2019.
Coming in third was Utah Valley University, with 127 pledges, or 13.76% of the total. University of Utah trailed just behind UVU, with 125 pledges, 13.54% of the total.
According Utah State’s student newspaper, The Utah Statesmen, the number of pledges has declined since the first two years of the water war. Utah State won with 500 pledges in 2016, and Weber State won with 546 in 2017.