Water Supply Outlook
Even in normal years, Utah has a limited water supply. It is the second driest state in the nation. Most of Utah is classified as a desert receiving less than 13 inches of annual
precipitation. Fortunately, previous generations of Utahns provided for a sufficient water supply by constructing many water storage reservoirs along with the associated collection,
transportation and distribution systems. Federal projects such as the Weber Basin, Central Utah and Joes Valley, along with local projects funded in part by the Utah Board of Water
Resources and the Utah Drinking Water Board, have provided additional water as well as infrastructure replacement.
The Utah Division of Water Resources and the Utah Board of
Water Resources have been directed by the Utah Legislature to plan for the future water needs of Utah. An integral part of this process has been the development of a State Water
Plan. The overall plan is based on hydrologic river basin plans developed in cooperation with local water users, and local and state government agencies involved in water use and management. The plan identifies resources available, current uses and future demand based on estimates of population growth by the Governor's Office of Planning and Budget. The plan also identifies areas of water quality, instream use and recreation that need to be addressed.
A significant finding of the Utah State Water Plan is that we must become more efficient with the use of existing water supplies. In the residential sector, Utahns have the second highest water use rate in the nation, partly due to the desert environment and developed landscapes dependent on irrigation.
Now we face the need to provide for future generations. To do this Governor Leavitt has initiated a Statewide Water Conservation Initiative. Not only is the initiative a response to the current drought, it will provide a legacy of intelligent water use for future generations. Water conservation will play a significant role in meeting the water needs of future generations. Utah has set a goal of reducing per capita water usage by 25 percent over the next 50 years.