UTAH'S WATER

Weber State University saves 50 million gallons of water a year, more savings planned

Apr 21, 2022, 6:50 PM | Updated: Jun 20, 2022, 1:44 pm

OGDEN, Utah — Weber State University has cut water usage by about 30% thanks to an ambitious water conservation plan.

The plan was to reach that goal by 2025 so now the school has planned to cut back even more.

We’re talking about 50 million gallons of water that they’re now saving per year at this new rate.

The planning started back in 2016 with the idea that some tough drought conditions were coming.

That’s when the school hired Drew Hodge as the water conservation and stormwater coordinator.

“There was some faculty on campus that did some studies on water,” Hodge said. “We’re doing very well in our energy goals and things like that and so the really the university was looking forward, what’s next?”

Weber State University has replaced grass and plants with xeriscaping at several areas of campus. (KSL TV) Drew Hodge is the water conservation and storm water coordinator at Weber State University. (KSL TV) The pond at Linquist Plaza. (KSL TV) (KSL TV)

It took a few years to create the plan but Hodge said by 2019, things were rolling. They switched to more water-efficient irrigation and toilets and they replaced some of the old plants and grass with some that thrive naturally in Utah’s desert conditions.

Landscaping employees also started competing to see who could save the most water.

“It spurred a lot of great ideas and it spurred the desire to do more projects,” Hodge said.

In 2021 the school hit its planned goal early with water use down about 30%.

He said, “It’s substantial, you know? Especially in our secondary water numbers. We were able to cut them quite a bit.”

The school isn’t done. Hodge said he’s ready to set new goals.

“We’re really moving away from grass and that’s the new norm for our facility and I think it’s going to have to be, I think, for many facilities,” he added.

Xeriscaping will become the norm.

The pond at Linquist Plaza will likely become more than just that with some of the water to be used as a future irrigation source.

“This is the route Utah has to go now and it’s doable. It’s completely doable,” Hodge said.

You can see Weber State University’s full water action plan here.

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Weber State University saves 50 million gallons of water a year, more savings planned