Nonprofit’s sneak peek of workshop: Our water, our future

ST. GEORGE –  A water sustainability workshop led by water expert Tom Ash and presented by Citizens for Dixie’s Future, a local nonprofit organization, and the popular clothing company, Patagonia, will be held Thursday from 9 a.m. to 3 p.m. at Entrada, 2537 West Entrada Trail, in St George, for all county water managers, elected city officials, county commissioners and the public to consider water sustainability possibilities available to all. Seating for the workshop is limited, RSVPs are requested.

The workshop hosts invite all to come and enjoy a light lunch at beautiful Entrada and learn how policymakers can ensure that Washington County moves into the future with its high standard of living intact. The release stated:

We value free market capitalism in this country. We believe that demand should determine prices and that competition is good, but strangely enough, not with water. The government heavily subsidizes water and prices are further kept low on the front end by taking costs out of property taxes on the back end. This way of operating is not only a contradiction to our economic model, it encourages waste and gives the false impression that there is a cheap, abundant, and never ending supply of water.

The argument for this system is based in the belief that water is a right because it is life sustaining, and while true, it is also true that if you under value a finite resource, people don’t value it appropriately and often misuse it.

The presenter, Ash, has over 25 years of experience in the fields of water use efficiency, public education, and horticulture. At the workshop, the press release stated, Ash will show what he has learned and experienced in California to help Southern Utah avoid making the same mistakes. Further, it said:

We all know that if we don’t run our air conditioning as much during the summer, we will save money; the same should be true for water. If we use more, we should pay more. If the cost is high enough, people will naturally conserve and there will be enough water to go around for everyone. This is the market model. Water managers in Utah know this. Their job is to make sure there is enough water for the people they work for. They also walk a fine line between providing water and managing it well.

Because water managers are appointed by elected officials who answer to the public, and have a stewardship role to the public because of the resource they manage, it is in their best interest to not only provide water, but to ensure there are adequate supplies of water for a sustainable future. Striking a balance between the economy and water needs and sustainability is the constant flux they find themselves in. That is why it is important for us, the public, to understand how it works, what needs to be done, and to support efforts that lead to sustainable water policy.

In California, where they are suffering from prolonged droughts, they are finding that water rate structures work the best at striking that balance.

About Tom Ash

As a water conservation specialist from the University of California, Riverside, Ash was the University liaison to water agencies in Southern California starting in 1987.

He was instrumental in the design and implementation of the first water budget tiered-rate structure for water agencies. The Irvine Ranch Water District rate structure resulted in a reduction of 61 percent in landscape water use, stabilized agency revenues, and grew customer satisfaction to over 90 percent.

Ash has advised the American Water Works Association, was an advisor to the U.S. Drought Policy Task Force in 2003 and assists water agencies with water rates and conservation programs as a private consultant.

Event details and resources

  • What: Water Sustainability Workshop
  • When: Thursday, Oct. 30, from 9 a.m.-3 p.m.
  • Where: Entrada, 2537 West Entrada Trail, St George, Utah
  • Seating is limited | RSVP online
  • Citizens for Dixie’s Future website
Drought Monitor Map Oct. 21, 2014. The data cutoff for Drought Monitor maps is Tuesday at 8 a.m. EDT. The maps, which are based on analysis of the data, are released each Thursday at 8:30 a.m. Eastern Time. | Graphic courtesy of the National Drought Mitigation Center at the University of Nebraska-Lincoln, the United States Department of Agriculture, and the National Oceanic and Atmospheric Administration. See more: | Citizen’s for Dixie’s Future, St. George News

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Copyright St. George News, LLC, 2014, all rights reserved.

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  • Bender October 27, 2014 at 11:26 pm

    This workshop is Bender Approved.

  • skip2maloo October 28, 2014 at 11:03 am

    Sure, we need to better conserve and allocate water. But we also need to ensure that we have enough for future growth. So implement water-saving measure AND build the Powell Pipeline. Let’s get it started!

    • Bender October 28, 2014 at 1:19 pm

      Economist SKIP2MALOO also recommends streets paved with gold, a merry-go-round on each corner and new blinged-out Suburbans for the county commissioners. Let’s get it started!!

      • skip2maloo October 28, 2014 at 1:40 pm

        Never said anything of the kind. And we already have a merry-go-round.

        • Bender October 28, 2014 at 7:31 pm

          As long as you are lobbying for extravagances which we can’t afford, you might as well go for broke. Go big or go home SKIP2MALOO .

  • Chris October 28, 2014 at 2:16 pm

    You want the current residents to pay for water we don’t need so that hundreds of thousands of more people can move here and create a second Las Vegas. I can’t express how dumb that is. Death to the pipeline!

  • beacon October 30, 2014 at 4:56 pm

    With Ron Thompson’s new per person water usage of 161 gpcd, we have enough water to serve the 600,000 people they forecast for 2060 with what we have, if managed well. The state and district’s own water reports show 124,000-135,000 acre feet of water WITHOUT the 86,000 af of pipeline water. 600,000 people is a lot of people to stuff in this area, folks, and still maintain a good quality of life and a sustainable future. The pipeline would take it to a million or more. Think about it. You say, the LPP water will provide a “safety net” for us? Not with the build, build, build mantra here it won’t. What do people want to leave their children and grandchildren, really?

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