January 31, 2023

Salt Lake Tribune: Drought won’t be solved with a ‘stick,’ Utah’s top political leaders say

Senate President Stuart Adams and House Speaker Brad Wilson say Utah will lean into incentives to address the state’s years-long water troubles.

By Carlene Coombs  | Jan. 30, 2023, 4:30 p.m. | Updated: 4:38 p.m.

Click here to read the full story on the Salt Lake Tribune website.

As the Great Salt Lake has hit record-low elevations during the last two years, the Utah legislature will focus on incentivizing Utahns to conserve water rather than approaching the drought and water conservations with “sticks.”

“I’m confident through the approaches that we’ve been using that we don’t need sticks,” said House Speaker Brad Wilson during a news conference on Monday. “People will continue to do the right thing for the right reasons.”

According to Wilson, Utahns on the Wasatch Front have already conserved nearly 10 billion gallons of water through voluntary measures.

At this time, lawmakers are not discussing limiting Utah’s growth or reducing development, Wilson said. Utah is the fastest-growing state in the country while also being the second-driest.

Senate President Stuart Adams announced he has introduced a bill to collaborate with Western states on water development, while Wilson announced legislation to create a unified authority overseeing the management of the Great Salt Lake.

There will also be increased funding for already existing initiatives, said lawmakers, such as turf buyback programs and agricultural water optimization.

Click here to read the full story on the Salt Lake Tribune website.