New USGS Report: Utah is Nation’s Most Wasteful Water User

A new report from the USGS shows Utah uses more water per person than any other state in the nation, averaging 248 gallons per person per day. The study, which is released every five years, showed Utah’s average water use has increased between 2005-2010 while many other states water use reduced considerably after serious conservation efforts. The study, conducted every 5 years, previously listed Utah as the 2nd highest water user in the country in 2000, behind Nevada.  Ironically, Utah’s 2010 water use was higher than in 2005, reported as 245 gpcd according to the 2005 USGS report.  While Utah’s water use rose from 2005 and 2010, average U.S. water use declined by 8 percent over the same period and Nevada’s water use declined 25 percent over that time.  This indicates that Utahns have stalled in their water conservation practices.

Utah’s unique practice of collecting property taxes for water explains why Utah’s cities have America’s cheapest municipal water rates.  Cheap water rates mean high use, as basic market economics dictate.  Utah’s per capita water use is the justification for massive proposed water projects, including the $2 billion Lake Powell Pipeline and $2.5 billion Bear River Development.

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