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Water Conservation Coalition Calls for Audit of Utah Division of Water Resources

Bob Nelson

A broad coalition of water conservation groups is calling for a legislative audit of the Utah Division of Water Resources. The partnership includes Living Rivers, the Taxpayer Association of Kane County and Glen Canyon Institute. Zack Frankel is the executive director of Utah Rivers Council which is also part of the coalition. He says a review by the Legislative Auditor General’s Office will help show the public that the division wastes millions by lobbying for expensive water projects while scrimping on conservation education efforts.

“The important thing to understand about water conservation is that it’s not about doing without, it’s about doing without waste." Frankel told KUER. "And we can dramatically lower our water use without removing one blade of grass. We could lower our water use 20 to 25 percent.”

Frankel says the so-called “Strong’s Law”, that something dies when water is conserved, is disturbing. The phrase was named after Dennis Strong, the director of the Utah Division of Water Resources. Strong says he is being misquoted.

“When you conserve, there are consequences. Now does that mean we shouldn’t conserve? Absolutely not, we should conserve. But let’s consider what it is when we conserve,” Strong says.

Strong says while it’s true Utahns use water at almost twice the national average, residents have also reduced consumption by 18 percent since the year 2000. He says he welcomes the audit request.

”So that we could demonstrate and show that we definitely have a commitment to conservation,” says Strong.

Both Frankel and Strong say they agree that cutting waste has to be part of Utah’s future water development.

Bob Nelson is a graduate of the University of Utah with a BA in mass communications. He began his radio career at KUER in 1978 when it was still in Kingsbury Hall. That’s also where he met his wife, Maria Shilaos, in 1981. Bob left KUER for commercial radio where he worked for 25 years, and he is thrilled to be back at KUER. Bob and his family are part of an explorer group, fondly known as The Hordes and Masses, which has been seeking out ghost towns and little-known places in Utah for more than twenty years.
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