Governor Cox asked Utahns again to conserve water in an effort to minimize the damage of a decade of drought we have faced in Utah.
The requests are reasonable. Fill up your dishwasher before you run it. Water your lawn in the evenings. Perhaps find an alternative to water games. After all, we do live in the desert. The way we have used water for a century cannot continue.
But what the Governor is not asking is for people to omit showers altogether. Why? Because as a collective we value hygiene. We value showing up to work clean. We like the feeling.
Collectively when we work together and do our part change can happen. We saved billions of gallons last year because it was on the mind of many. It’s difficult to see at the moment until something happens that requires us to dramatically change our lifestyle. Like not showering or flushing toilets.
Instead, he is asking to make small changes now to avoid large changes in the future. This isn’t rock science. We all understand this. Yet, we continue to misbehave. It’s easier to appeal to neighbors and water shame those around us but avoid the hard conversation with growers and industry. (Elections matter!)
Ultimately, we will have to address our mindset of water consumption in the desert. The way change is most effective is when we have to dramatically alter how we live or when we see someone we know is affected. In the coming decade, don’t be surprised when more is required because enough of us still haven’t changed the story we tell ourselves of water. We are so used to turning on the tap and having clean water appear. That is indeed one of the greatest solutions to one of the greatest problems humans faced for tens of thousands of years. Let’s not forget. Clean water when it is abundant is not valuable. Humans don’t know how good something is until it is gone.