Utahns need to be paying much more for water

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  • sgallen Salt Lake City, UT
    June 24, 2018 3:31 p.m.

    There's such a thing as a population outpacing their resources. Large families, relatively cheap land, decent business climate, outdoor activities (if you can find the elbow room). Why do we want to keep adding to the population?

  • old dad South Jordan, UT
    June 24, 2018 12:12 p.m.

    I'm so sick of the "conserve" philosophy (or we'll raise your prices) for Utah water users. A few years ago it was reported that if Utah households completely quit using any water, it would amount to 20% less usage. As has been commented, Utah agriculture is the villain here. Farmers need to resort to the efficient sprinkler systems - no more flood irrigation. Agriculture accounts for 80% of water used in the state!

  • Flipphone Sandy, UT
    June 24, 2018 11:43 a.m.

    Conservation of water always leads to higher water rates... Why? because water companies product is, water, and when the water companies sells less water they raise water prices to offset their lost of revenue they need to support their overhead which they do not reduce to reflect the loss revenue caused by selling less of their product, Which is Water!

  • Flipphone Sandy, UT
    June 24, 2018 11:34 a.m.

    Some have posted that the problem is over building and it is true that a growing population requires, More of everything from homes to water usage, and it would be nice if growth could be managed other than managed by dying. The Wasatch front and back isn't dying and that is a good thing, as well as a bad thing.

    So want do you do? in another 20 years the population will be twice want it is today, an again, what are we to do? other than to make bad decisions that cause Northern Utah to die?

  • Fullypresent Salt Lake City, UT
    June 24, 2018 10:51 a.m.

    We don't need to pay more for water. It is a basic necessity of life. We need to help people take out more of their yards and grow crops that do not require as much water. Get rid of swimming pools and most golf courses.

  • kolob1 Sandy, UT
    June 24, 2018 7:41 a.m.

    Water is much more important than oil. Have you ever heard of a Utah US Senator or Utah US Representative introduce legislation designed to convert salt water into fresh water? No!
    But you have seen many Legislative actions to protect the market place for the big energy companies here in Utah. All supported by the far right leaders of our state.

    Well here is some news for these visionaries (sic). You can't drink oil.

  • carman Wasatch Front, UT
    June 23, 2018 10:57 p.m.

    A lot of water in Utah is wasted growing low-value alfalfa and other feed grasses. Most of this water is used by part-time farmers who use inefficient methods and literally waste millions of gallons of water.

    It's time to pull the plug on poorly managed ag land. This would save more water than almost anything else we could do. And it would be a big shot in the arm for Utah's economy.

  • JBs Logan, UT
    June 23, 2018 10:02 p.m.

    Maybe if we pay more for water, it will help us change our landscapes to something more appropriate for the desert. Oil shortages were nothing compared with what water shortages would be, given the projections in growth population for Utah. We need to get a handle on this.

  • liberal larry Salt Lake City, UT
    June 22, 2018 8:21 a.m.

    Utah doesn't really grow much that humans can eat!

    Most of our resources are devoted to growing things that cows can eat, so we in turn, can eat the cows!

    In the process we use copious amounts of water!

    If you really want to save water, we need to quit eating beef!

  • Alicr Palo Alto, CA
    June 21, 2018 9:44 p.m.

    242 gallons per person per day. I live in California and our household which is 7 people uses on average 6ccf's per month which calculates out to about 21 gallons per person. 242 is just plain outrageous. Learn to conserve Utah because we've got nothing to share with you

  • NoNamesAccepted St. George, UT
    June 21, 2018 9:43 p.m.

    @Jay "... implemented pricing structures that charged little up to a certain point, then drastically more after that..."


    Do you want market pricing or don't you? It costs the same amount to deliver the 3rd 10,000 gallons to a home as it does the 1st. I don't pay more for my 2nd or 3rd fountain drink than I do my first.

    A fine case can be made for market pricing. And a case can be made for subsidies to assure we have water.

    But it is not honest to use market arguments for selected subsidies.

    The pricing scheme you've proposed subsidies apartments and other high density housing. If that is your intent, state so clearly and forthrightly. Don't hide behind claims of wanting market pricing.

    Personally, I'm not interested in further subsidizing newcomers to Utah who then vote to turn us into the problematic place they fled.

    I've lived in southern Arizona. Xeriscaped yards increase urban heating effect a lot.

    Every new development should include a secondary water system. No reason to use culinary for outdoor watering. There is a lot of water in Utah fine for irrigating that cannot economically be made drinkable.

    Ultimately, slow the growth. Residents over developers.

  • Why would I? Kaysville, UT
    June 21, 2018 8:52 p.m.

    Why would I be super surprised to see an item included in the article that mentioned how often government facilities--parks, golf courses, schools, government buildings, etc--water during the heat of the day; water during a rain storm; or water more than needed; then lecture the common person that they need to monitor and meter their water usage, water only during certain hours, or on certain days? Those who produce our water and sell it to us can't use enough themselves. I know during a drought some people though flowing fire hydrants to assure there was enough water available for a properly designed fire sprinkler system would be available (a spin-off benefit was several maintenance issues were usually identified, such as non-functioning hydrants) but yet they turn a blind eye to the really big water users in the State and that is agriculture. We are an agrarian State, true, but farmers should be asked to conserve and/or pay more too, not just the home owners.

  • Holy-Schamoly-What Baloney Kaysville, UT
    June 21, 2018 8:41 p.m.

    Lived in a different community in central Davis County during a previous drought, & the City asked citizens to conserve--they did; price went UP because water revenues went down with fewer shutoffs & expensive turn-back-on fees. After the drought with plenty of water available, price staid HIGH..no reduction even though it was to force conservation, which FAILED to accomplish anything meaningful long term.

    Water is NOT a free market commodity. Local Government demands their budget of water revenue be met regardless of gallons used by everyone or anyone. At one location I paid property taxes for FOUR water districts; 2 secondary, two primary. Where I live now I pay higher prop taxes because we are in the North Davis Sewer District area, yet our waste is piped to/ treated by the Central District. Go figure!!

    If you restructure water rates, fine; but BE CAREFUL to make it revenue neutral with property taxes because taxing entities operate like the old sand lot baseball tradition of getting their hands higher up on the bat. Tell us how you'll prevent that from occurring. (You won't!)

    Agriculture is using all the water; just thought you'd like to know, so charge them more!

  • UtahEngineer Sandy, UT
    June 21, 2018 6:54 p.m.

    Why is it that so many smart people bring up the issue of market pricing of water, but will undergo a literal brain storm when the same principal is applied to the massive subsidies given to UTA for its minute contribution to transportation.

    The 2012 audit of UTA by the Legislature's Auditor General found that each trip on FrontRunner cost over $30 each way, requiring 95% subsidy, [ riders paid only 5% of total costs for operation and capital investment. BTW, there is a Utah State law requiring UTA and its general manager to recoup, to the best extent possible, the full cost of each ride it provides. Unsurprisingly, UTA has thumbed its nose at the Legislature and Governor for 15 years as it used massive freebie programs to pump ridership, Utah law take the hindmost.

    Several years ago, Dr. Michael Ransom, the Chair of the Dept. of Economics at BYU reported, "The economics of UTA's rail lines boggle the mind," and UTA's Draper TRAX was tantamount to economic insanity, because the prior transit use in the corridor was only 50 boardings a day. A train could carry 25,000 a day, a monster mismatch.

    Remember, "The Utah Way", ALWAYS requires solid economics.

  • fight4liberty Herriman, UT
    June 21, 2018 2:58 p.m.

    How about addressing the eliphant in the room, OVER BUILDING??

    How about reigning in the Willie nillie out of control city/county councils that either have no city planner or whom are bought by developers! ei: the Olympia project?

    Actually the State of Utah should put a moratorium on all future building including commercial!

    How much water is the new FB Data center going to use? The new inland port? High density housing?

    The Governor needs to put out a report on the roads and water usage of every city/county in the state, so we can see the state/fed road improvemments that are planned for the next 15 yrs, and where the magic water is coming from in our drought stricken state for the next 20 yrs?

    Utah is becoming the new California and we don't need to look very far to see the writing on the wall!

    It's all fine and dandy the state looks great on paper! Wages are not going up, but Corp Greed sure is! Corporations should be made to make wages rise with the percentage their development causes property values to rise!

    So paying more for water? No, it does not fix the problem!

  • Flipphone Sandy, UT
    June 21, 2018 2:21 p.m.

    Notice that everytime water usage drops, do to conservation, that in a short time your water rates increase...question why is that? the reason is that water companies sell water and when the product they sell is reduced their revenue also is reduced and because their overhead is never adjusted to the lost of revenue your water bill goes up.

    So next time you are asked to lower your water usage be aware that your water bill will increase.

  • BC-Cali21 Rancho Cucamonga, CA
    June 21, 2018 2:07 p.m.

    While some are crying that Agriculture uses the largest amount of water...before you, have the water companies run a study looking at how tight and water efficient (water tight) their transport pipes and resivoir systems are. I bet they use/waste more than even Agriculture. Here in So Cal, the state is trying to save millions of gallons from the people when the water companies out here have such leaky pipes that the water companies drip so much water in one week that it equals the same amount that people in their homes would use in a year. Bottom line...tell the regulators to shut up and to go to the water providers and fix their infrastructure.

  • Invisible Hand Provo, UT
    June 21, 2018 1:07 p.m.

    @McBob: Just because you don't currently have the option of more than one water supplier doesn't mean it can't be done. When I lived in Texas we had 3 or 4 choices of power companies, but the power all came in on the same wires. Why not have a choice of water providers who lease the same pipes? Also cities could buy their water on the open market and price it at market rates. Everyone talking about new rules, regulations and conservation efforts is advocating big government solutions that don't work as well as allowing freedom to rule and seeing what creative solutions emerge.

  • Strider303 American Fork, UT
    June 21, 2018 12:49 p.m.

    I accept the principle that we should pay a realistic price for culinary water, the term "market price" is open to debate. I would suggest that any major effort to reduce the use of urban domestic water be coupled with letting homeowners take out front lawns and parking strip lawns or greenery for xeriscape landscaping. Most municipalities require lawns to be planted and maintained under penalty of law and are either oblivious to the current drought or cling to a mid-west ideal of greenery ad nauseam.

    Lawn is a crop we plant, tend, harvest and throw away. Someone said Urban Utah needs to look more like Tucson, AZ. The have few lawns and husband their water carefully. We don't.

    To get into better use of water for waste management, try low flush toilets, urinals in home bathrooms, motion sensitive faucets in bathrooms and lower diameter piping to shower heads and, heaven forbid - a tax on a second tub.

    Also require developers to identify and guarantee water source(s) for all new developments. No water, no way.

    Oh, it was agriculture needs that got congress to fund our water projects, not urban growth. The farmers were here or there first.

  • Brad Peterson South Ogden, UT
    June 21, 2018 12:41 p.m.

    Target those that use water the the vast majority of water in the state: agriculture. Specifically, irresponsible farming methods like flood irrigation to grow alfalfa (much of which is shipped to China!).

    Secondary water for lawns take up a very small, but not minute, portion. Simply installing meters on these to simply inform people their water usage encourages them to reduce.

    The worst thing you can do is charge more money for house/culinary water. It's a very small fraction of overall water use, and the most important.

  • James McBob American Fork, UT
    June 21, 2018 12:28 p.m.

    People who have large amounts of water could and would pay the larger bills from the non-free market system we have. The people that would not be able to pay for the water would then get beat up by the cities because the drive strip was brown, or the lawn died. I know people right now in Salt Lake City who cannot afford to water their lawn due to the cost. I have done budgets for them.

  • Utah_Happyman Orem, UT
    June 21, 2018 12:21 p.m.

    The State should lead from the top down, we live in a desert, our ancestors that lived before us did not waste water. Just because modern technology of how our water is delivered does not mean our water supply is infinite. Native plants should be used for landscaping. Just because you can afford it doesn't mean you should waste water for a yard...

  • James McBob American Fork, UT
    June 21, 2018 12:14 p.m.

    I am curious about this free market solution. Can I have water delivered by another water company to my home or am I limited to what my city can provide? We all know the answer to that. There is no free market solution to this. The water companies can not compete to deliver water to our houses. If there was some way to compete, then they would make sure there were not leaks in the system, because that would be money "down the drain". Cities would also make a concerted effort not to water during rain storms and during the middle of the day.

    I have web enabled sprinkler controllers that look at the weather report and water more, less, or not at all, depending on the information received. Seems like a good way to knock 20 or 30% off my usage. Now, using the most accurate technology to do that is a free market solution.

    Slow down the growth in population, don't require that open space needs to be landscaped and the gross amount of water we use and need will increase at a much smaller rate.

  • RBN Salt Lake City, UT
    June 21, 2018 12:07 p.m.

    I don't inherently have a problem with using price to encourage water conservation. However, residential landscape use of water accounts for only 6% of all water used in the state. Agricultural use accounts for 82% of all water use. Simple math should lead water managers to seek savings in the greatest area of opportunity: agricultural use. Clearly, there has been some improvement, but you only need to drive the length of HWY 89 during the day to see wasted water. Lessons learned at home regarding daytime watering ought to be applied on a larger scale on farms and ranches. Continual harping on homeowners about water use and raising the price of water is an effort butting up against the law of diminishing returns.

  • bamafone Salem, UT
    June 21, 2018 11:45 a.m.

    I disagree,
    It should be reduced.

  • cjb Bountiful, UT
    June 21, 2018 11:32 a.m.

    Utahn's need to be paying much more for water?

    Jay if your water bill is $50, feel free to write a check for $120. Lead by example.

  • Invisible Hand Provo, UT
    June 21, 2018 11:30 a.m.

    @red smith: Where does the water that we lose through leaks go? It probably makes its way back into groundwater, recharging aquifers. Fixing leaks won't solve the problem. Complaining about bureaucracy won't solve the problem. We can either choose a solution that entails even more bureaucracy, which is more government regulations, restrictions and allocation by government decree, or we can have a free market and let the collective wisdom of free people acting in their economic best interest decide.

  • Red Smith American Fork, UT
    June 21, 2018 11:00 a.m.

    The State spends $22 million a year or $90,000 a day on water paperwork created by 3 State water divisions.

    The State has spent $400 million in the past 25 years and will spend another $600 million in the next 25 years or $1 Billion on dry water paperwork.

    We'd be better off spending that money on building new reservoirs.

    We could easily combine all 3 water divisions into 1 division and cut the budget in half. The $11 million a year in annual saving should be used to build new reservoirs.

    We can't drink dry water paperwork which is what we keep buying with our millions.

    Despite spending $22 million a year we have 1985 water regulations harming Home Builders, Farmers, and wasting water.

    Utah leaks about 15 Deer Creeks from city water mains and old canals enough water for 4 million new people, but we don't collect water leak data.

    Utah has the Nancy Pelosi water laws which are further Left than San Francisco.

    It's time to cut State water paperwork in half, cut water cartel power in half and save $300 million for real wet water we can drink.

  • Invisible Hand Provo, UT
    June 21, 2018 10:47 a.m.

    @Gpagentry: If a great, green lawn is a priority to you, maybe you shouldn't have chosen to live in a desert. Market pricing of water is long overdue. What if we reduced property taxes proportionately so people could better afford to pay their water bill while also giving them real economic incentives to cut their use? Farmers also need to pay a market price. Why are we growing thirsty alfalfa in the desert? It makes no sense given the water situation. We need to have government allocate a certain amount of water to keep our rivers and lakes healthy, and auction off the rest to the highest bidder. That might mean fewer golf courses, lawns and alfalfa fields. So be it. The market knows better than any person or group how this precious resource should be allocated.

  • 4601 Salt Lake City, UT
    June 21, 2018 10:42 a.m.

    Inexpensive water encourages waste. When it hits the wallet, people will prioritize how they want to use this precious resource. The arid West was never meant to be festooned with private green lawns.

  • Gpagentry Orem, UT
    June 21, 2018 10:03 a.m.

    Well, you have your opinion. I disagree. I think a compromise should be worked out. After the water conservation measures were passed three years ago, we are already suffering with increased water bills. The "we" being a small group of over 55 in a small HOA area. We used to have great, green lawns. They are already turning brown because we have had to cut back on watering. Since we are seniors, most of us are on fixed incomes (read Social Security).