This archived news story is available only for your personal, non-commercial use. Information in the story may be outdated or superseded by additional information. Reading or replaying the story in its archived form does not constitute a republication of the story.
Jed Boal ReportingIn this sixth straight year of drought Utahns are using more water this year than last year, despite a wetter summer. But that doesn't necessarily mean we've returned to wasteful ways.
It’s been another summer day with some rainfall, and there's more in the forecast. We’ve had more moisture this year than the last few and yet statewide we're using 7 percent more water this year than last year.
Molly Waters of the Utah Division of Water Resources says that's not as wasteful as it sounds. March and April were hot and dry so we started to water early, and we shouldn't expect to see big savings every year.
Molly Waters: “The patterns from year to year go up and down as weather factors change, as people's attitudes change."
Until this year we saw a drop in water use each year since 2000; we're using 17-percent less that we were four years ago so we are heading in the right direction.
Molly Waters, Utah Division of Water Resources: “Over the long-term we want to see that trend go down. There could be little juts in the middle where it goes up and down and that's very normal."
Salt Lake City water customers are using about two percent more this year than last year. But overall the trend is pretty impressive. As a community, it appears people are getting the message to conserve.
Stephanie Duer, Water Conservation Coordinator, Salt Lake City: “When it’s cooler like this, and we’ve had a number of rain spells, people are using less water. They’re turning it off, waiting longer between watering. It’s really good to see.”
The people of Salt Lake City are exceeding conservation goals. Back in 1988 each person averaged more than 300 gallons per day. Today we average of 240 gallons per capita; that factors in all industrial usage. The state average is 298 gallons. Salt Lake City water customers also now save more when they can.
Stephanie Duer: “People are paying attention to the weather, they're paying attention to the health of their lawn. When it's cooler and moist they don't have to water as often."
As the population grows we'll need to continue to cut back to meet long-range goals. When we get consistent rain over several cool days, we don't need to water as much as when we get a downpour once every 10 days.