The Utah Division of Water Resources (DWRe) began their third annual “H2Oath: Water-Wise Pledge” on Oct. 3. The school that wins will receive a $5,000 grant to the department or program that relates to water conservation on campus.
The competition will test which of ten Utah schools can acquire the most water conservation pledges from students and faculty.
The schools include Brigham Young University, Salt Lake Community College, Snow College, Southern Utah University, University of Utah, Dixie State University, Utah State University, Utah Valley University, Weber State University, and Westminster College.
WSU won last year by acquiring more pledges than USU at the last minute. WSU directed their grant toward further water conservation studies.
Marcie Larson, Utah Division of Water Resources public information officer, said the point of the competition is to commit to the little things that can make a difference.
“The purpose is to get people to be more aware what they’re able to do,” Larson said. “We tend to forget about the importance of preserving Utah’s most precious resource, which is water,” Larson said.
The commitments include not watering landscapes on a hot day, after or during a thunderstorm and adjusting sprinklers to avoid spraying sidewalks and driveways. They also include watering no more than what the division’s Weekly Lawn Watering Guide recommends.
The guide is updated weekly and is available at slowtheflow.org.
Todd Adams, deputy director of the Utah Division of Water Resources said the name of the competition is meant to evoke the excitement of summer water fights.
“We are interested to see which school is the most dedicated to water conservation, and this is a fun way to find out,” Adams said.
Faye Rutishauser, Utah state water conservation coordinator, said the division wants to see school leaders take the pledge to show they are committed to being good “water-stewards.”
“We encourage schools to get the information into their school newspapers, department newsletters, social media posts, billboards (electronic or otherwise) and going one step further and have announcements during their sporting events,” Rutishauser said.
Larson said that Drew Hodge, one of the WSU event’s organizers, provided a winning strategy that helped WSU win the competition last year.
“He understands the importance of being water efficient. He wanted to see students really start making a difference,” Larson said. “Weber State is starting to be one of the most water efficient campuses in the state. He saw this as an opportunity to continue to grow and develop those initiatives.”
Between now and Oct. 20, DWRe hopes to collect as many pledges as possible in order to progress moving forward towards water conservation. The pledge can be found at water.utah.gov/H2Oath.