Letter: What can we do to reduce the strain on water in our local communities?

(Francisco Kjolseth | The Salt Lake Tribune) Echo Reservoir is shown at 30% of capacity during extreme drought conditions on July 12, 2021.

Utah’s ongoing drought situation is getting worse. With minimal snowfall, low water levels, and water restrictions, the future is rather daunting.

Summer 2020 was one of the driest summers ever logged. The intense heat created a “hot drought,” meaning the overall precipitation levels throughout the Southwest haven’t changed dramatically, although the added heat is evaporating more water from rivers, lakes, snowpack and soil.

Because of the intense heat, water supplies are diminishing. By mid-July 2021, Echo Reservoir closed their launching ramp. The water level in the reservoir was at 44%. They didn’t even put the docks in this year because the water was so low. The Great Salt Lake shows very little resemblance to how it looks on the map. The lake’s water currently covers about 937 square miles but leaves around 763 square miles dry. These numbers are a striking reminder of the scary issue we have in front of us.

One of the main worries for Utah is drought boredom. After many years of news stories, media coverage, and talk within communities, some Utahns are beginning to be less fazed by the severity of the drought, because they are always hearing about it. We need to switch from just focusing on the drought, to focusing on how to grow from the drought.

Over the last year, Utah was ranked fourth lowest on overall precipitation levels, at a total of 13.57 inches. The biggest question now is, what can we do to help the strain on water in our local communities?

The answer to this question is widely known but can be difficult to implement. Watering your lawns less, taking shorter showers, keeping cold water in the fridge to reduce tap flow, and letting your grass grow longer may sound small, but have a significant impact on water conservation.

Grace Parkin, Salt Lake City

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