It is gratifying to see that our elected officials at all levels are taking the current drought seriously by embracing water conservation. Governor Cox issued an Executive Order on water conservation that is mandatory for all state facilities and suggested for the state’s cities and residents. In Washington County, the Washington County Water Conservancy District (WCWCD) took a significant step in requesting major water conservation measures be adopted by local governments. County government and most of the cities and towns have issued voluntary restrictions on outdoor watering to night or early morning hours. While this is a great step, the question is: “will this be enough?” Probably not, but it’s certainly a good start. Meanwhile, the WCWCD is undertaking the required 5-year update of its water conservation plan. How is this progressing?

Generally, the WCWCD distributes water to cities, and the cities distribute it to water users in their respective jurisdictions. While the cities are in control of water use and price of water, the WCWCD can have a great influence in promoting strong water conservation measures.

The 2021 update is proceeding in much the same manner as previous planning processes. A committee made up of selected community stakeholders and organizations has been appointed to create the plan. Members of the Committee are:

Ty Bringhurst – Toquerville
Lester Dalton – Washington
Bryan Dyer – WCSD
Rene Fleming – St. George
Chuck Gillette – Ivins
Niki Hancock – Nurseries/Ag
Brad Hays – Santa Clara
Rick Heflebower – USU Ext
Derek Imlay – La  Verkin
Richard Kohler – Green Building
Mari Krashowetz – Builders
Scott Messel – County
Kason Traveller – Developer
Angie Tripp – Hurricane
Don Willie – Business/Chamber

Our understanding is that Maddaus Water Management, Inc. is guiding the process designed to select measures (methods/techniques) to conserve water, targets for those measures, and a plan for reaching them. It is also our understanding that a state water conservation goal (we presume from Utah’s Regional M&I Water Conservation Goals) is driving the process. Maddaus will also perform the analysis needed to make decisions about plan content. WCWCD is targeting completion of the update by the end of the year.

Although CSU was not invited to participate in the planning process, we have been making suggestions to WCWCD to improve the planning process, including better public engagement. Some of our suggestions may have been incorporated into the 2021 process. CSU will review and comment on the updated plan when it is available and will help engage you in that process.

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