Utah is currently the second driest state in the nation and I have seen multiple predictions that Western states are in for a prolonged drought. California has mandated a statewide water conservation program to bring consumption down by 25 percent. That means green lawns are out and fresh vegetable prices are on their way up. With Utah’s population expected to double in the next 35 years, it’s hard to imagine that we aren’t headed in the same direction.
What can Utah do to offset the growing need for water? Well, besides the usual measures such as three-minute showers, fewer green grass lawns, and all the other household prescriptions, we can start immediately to move away from coal-fired power plants. The “average” coal plant uses as much water as a city of 60,000 people. Utah has 11 coal-fired power plants that generate more than three-quarters of the electrical power in our state. To understand the issue better, per household per month, wind power uses no water; solar power uses about 26 gallons, natural gas uses 198 gallons and coal, ah yes, coal uses 687 gallons of water per month per household (on average).
It’s time we start paying attention to where our drinking water is going to come from – and how much we are going to have to pay for it. Isn’t it time Utah got behind alternative energy for a safer, less risky water future? Are you willing to go back to using a wash basin and an old wash board for the laundry when things get really tough? Me, I want to continue to water my garden and take my showers!