ST. GEORGE – Utahns are being encouraged to conserve water through the “Thirst Games” – a statewide competition to see which cities in Utah have the biggest percentage of residents taking the “H2Oath.”
The H2Oath program encourages water conservation efforts by families, businesses, government agencies and statewide organizations.
The cities with the largest percentage of residents taking the H2Oath in each population category will be awarded a $5,000 water conservation grant.
“We hope cities will reach out to their citizens via social media, city newsletters, websites, announcements in city council meeting and any other way they can think of,” Faye Rutishauser, the state water conservation coordinator, said.
“We also hope there is some friendly competition among cities, including a little trash talk.”
Residents can take the oath online. The competition will run from Aug. 15 through Sept. 15, and cities are categorized by population into four groups.
A map showing which cities are in the lead will be updated weekly during the competition and will be available online. The division will also publish the updates via Facebook and Twitter.
The H2Oath follows the recommendations of the “Slow the Flow” campaign and shows that individuals are willing to participate in several different conservation measures.
Provisions of the pledge include following the irrigation guide the state publishes weekly, running washing machines and dishwashers only when full, taking shorter showers and much more.
The Washington County Water Conservancy District, along with the Division of Water Resources, announced the H2Oath program in May.
“The little things make a big difference, and so we’re just trying to adopt some of those and encourage our residents and business and home owners to incorporate those practices,” Karry Rathje, Conservancy District spokesperson, said in an earlier interview.
“We find that Utah residents – if they say they’re going to do something, they do it,” Rathje said, “and so we think this pledge campaign will be an opportunity for them to make that pledge and start incorporating those changes.”
According to the Utah Division of Water Resources, conservation measures are needed throughout the state. Utah has been experiencing long-term drought conditions for the past several years, and Utah’s population is projected to more than double by 2060, so meeting future needs will require additional conservation.
The H2Oath recommends the following practices:
- I will water my landscape no more than is recommended by the Weekly Lawn Watering Guide found on SlowTheFlow.org, and posted weekly on the Utah Division of Water Resources Facebook page and Twitter account. (If everyone does it, it will save Utah billions of gallons.)
- I will not water my landscape at the hottest time of the day.
- I will not water during or directly after a rainstorm.
- I will adjust my sprinklers to avoid spraying sidewalks and driveways.
- I will adjust my lawn mower to one of the higher settings to help shade roots, and reduce the need for water.
- I will look for opportunities to add water-wise plants to my landscape.
- I will identify and fix leaks both inside and outside of my home.
- I will reduce my shower time by at least 1 minute per shower.
- I will wait until I have a full load to run my dishwasher or washing machine.
- Take the H2Oath here, or for a mobile friendly site go here
- Division of Water Resources weekly lawn watering guide
- Washington County Water Conservancy District tips and resources
- Washington County Water Conservancy District programs and rebates
- Schedule a free lawn water audit by calling Julie Breckenridge at 435-673-3617.
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