Growing Water Smart
In 2021, Utah Governor Spencer Cox announced four water conservation measures to enhance the state’s water conservation efforts. These measures included agricultural water use optimization, an expanded turfgrass buyback program, the installation of secondary water meters throughout the state, and the integration of land use and water planning.
In particular, the integration of land use and water planning in Utah is a primary focus of water conservation efforts as new development occurs in the state and competition for water resources increases.
In 2022, the Center for Water Efficient Landscaping at USU began working with the state’s Division of Water Resources to develop a Utah-focused curriculum for workshops, including case studies demonstrating methods for reaching community water efficiency goals.
Communities attending Utah Growing Water Smart workshops bring teams comprised of key personnel such as city council members, planning commission members, city engineers, public utility directors, city managers, storm water managers, and health department staff.
Teams participate in facilitated work sessions that include: 1) setting a workshop intention, 2) evaluating current water smart policies and practices, 3) setting community water efficiency goals, 4) making the case for water smart change in their communities, and 5) creating a team action plan. All work sessions build toward the final creation of a team action plan which specifically identifies tasks and timelines (3-, 6-, 9-, and 12-months) for meeting the community’s water efficiency goals.
Utah-specific case study examples are shared with the communities in the Utah Growing Water Smart: The Water-Land Use Integration Guidebook, the “workshop headquarters” (HQ) which contains an online library of resources, and throughout the workshop process to illustrate successful methods for Growing Water Smart communities.
Laura Briefer, Director of Salt Lake City Department of Public Utilities sharing success stories from Salt Lake City at the first Utah Growing Water Smart workshop (November 15, 2022)