Play Live Radio
Next Up:
0:00 0:00
Available On Air Stations

Forum: Water Challenges Are Many, As Are Solutions

Stephanie Duer, Salt Lake City’s water guru, sums up the state’s water challenges this way: “If there was a single solution, we all would be doing it now and this problem would be solved.”

So water professionals get together each year to swap ideas and tools.  At this year’s Utah Water Conservation Forum, they talked about smart conservation and management strategies.

Duer says a big danger is not recognizing the multifaceted nature of the problem, thinking that there’s one answer.

“Pointing to just lawn, just planning, just any one thing is shortsighted because it stops us from looking at other potential solutions also,” she says.

Dozens of managers and planners gathered at the Jordan Valley Water Conservancy District’s demonstration garden. They heard about effective ways to connect with water users, set rates to promote conservation and use technology to find leaks.

Alan Matheson, director of Utah’s Department of Environmental Quality and a keynote speaker, says solutions require collaboration, and they’re a work in progress.

“We’re very much involved in developing this 50-year state water strategy and have a state water strategy advisory team that’s meeting to debate the issues, to bring in better data and to provide some direction to our policymakers at the state level.”

Matheson says he hopes they’ll be able to share their plan publicly by the end of the year.

And, meanwhile, Utahns are rising to the challenge by conserving at home.

Judy Fahys has reported in Utah for two decades, covering politics, government and business before taking on environmental issues. She loves covering Utah, where petroleum-pipeline spills, the nation’s radioactive legacy and other types of pollution provide endless fodder for stories. Previously, she worked for the Salt Lake Tribune in Utah, and reported on the nation’s capital for States News Service and the Scripps League newspaper chain. She is a longtime member of the Society of Environmental Journalists and Investigative Reporters and Editors. She also spent an academic year as a research fellow in the Knight Science Journalism program at the Massachusetts Institute of Technology. In her spare time, she enjoys being out in the environment, especially hiking, gardening and watercolor painting.
KUER is listener-supported public radio. Support this work by making a donation today.