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Letter: Users should pay actual cost of water

Published November 19, 2013 1:01 am

This is an archived article that was published on sltrib.com in 2013, and information in the article may be outdated. It is provided only for personal research purposes and may not be reprinted.

Philip Long ("Thirsty LDS Church," Public Forum, Nov. 10) suggests that the LDS church should pay taxes to support its water usage, which he deems excessive. I entirely agree with him that residential water usage in Utah, the second driest state, is ridiculously high, and we are not doing enough to adjust our lifestyles accordingly. But taxes are not the way to address this.

There is little correlation between property taxes and water use, and that's been known for years. (I xeriscape, you don't, yet our property taxes may be the same, although I use far less water.)

Water charges should be sufficient to cover the utility's costs, and should be based on metered consumption, using increasing block rates. The highest block tariff should reflect the (very high) cost of developing new supplies. These rates should be widely publicized (and in intelligible units: cost per gallon, not per 100 cubic feet).

That would provide consumers with a painful lesson about the value of the resource they are squandering and the implications if they do not change their behavior. It would definitely encourage conservation.

Richard Middleton

Salt Lake City