Every drop helps
This is an archived article that was published on sltrib.com in 2013, and information in the article may be outdated. It is provided only for personal research purposes and may not be reprinted.

When I read Jean Sorenson's astounding water-saving suggestion that restaurants conserve by not filling glasses on tables and instead provide a pitcher of water ("Drink from a carafe," Forum, April, 24), I thought, what a silly idea.

But I thought about it all day and realized she was right. We need a strong water-saving ethic in this increasingly arid land. And to have such an ethic, it needs to be evident and expressed everywhere, including restaurants.

But a water-saving ethic only gets us so far. Utahns also need strong motivation to conserve — a financial incentive. If we increased the tax on water use, people would seek ways to conserve.

Part of the new tax revenue could go for rebates for installing water-saving devices like waterless urinals, water-efficient clothes washers, drip irrigation systems, xeriscaping and just for using a tenth less water than last year. Revenue could also go for fixing leaks in aging pipes in the road — that would save a lot.

With the warming climate, we're likely to get less water in the future. Yet our population will still grow. We all must do more with less. The sooner the better.

Jeff O'Brien

Salt Lake City