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Church to reduce watering at temples, meetinghouses across West

Jun 22, 2022, 1:35 PM | Updated: Jun 23, 2022, 12:19 pm

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SALT LAKE CITY — The Church of Jesus Christ of Latter-day Saints is cutting down on watering lawns and landscapes at meetinghouses, temples and buildings across the American West as the region continues to face severe drought conditions.

On Wednesday the Church released an official statement on “The Importance of Water Conservation,” stating planning is underway to identify landscape changes that will permanently reduce water use.

“Much of the American West is experiencing serious drought,” part of the statement read. “In this area of the United States, the Church is working to reduce water use in all our buildings and facilities, including exterior landscaping.”

In some cases, landscapes and lawns may be allowed to brown and become dormant.

The Church said it has installed water-wise irrigation systems and low-flow plumbing systems in buildings constructed since the early 2000s, and it continues to retrofit older systems.

“Water conservation efforts continue to include the expansion of smart controllers, hydrometers, rain sensors, drip irrigation and use of secondary or reclaimed water,” officials said. “Additionally, we have adjusted watering schedules to meet local government guidelines, and we continue to monitor the conditions of all Church properties.”

Officials said Church historical sites in regions affected by drought have successfully reduced water usage by one-third. Among the Church’s plans for reducing water use are using native plants, low-utility lawns and new water management practices. In the statement, Church leaders also asked members and others to join their effort to conserve water.

“We all play a part in preserving the critical resources needed to sustain life — especially water — and we invite others to join us in reducing water use wherever possible,” the statement said.

As of Wednesday, 99.88% of Utah is experiencing severe drought conditions. Almost 83% of the state is listed under extreme drought — the second-highest drought category on the U.S. Drought Monitor’s scale.

Currently, over 88% of Washington, Oregon, California, Montana, Idaho, Utah, Arizona and New Mexico are experiencing some level of drought conditions, with 44% of the region listed in extreme drought.

About 12% of the region is in exceptional drought. The Church’s full statement can be read here.

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Church to reduce watering at temples, meetinghouses across West