Satire: Praying for Water in Utah

The world will never let Utah Governor Spencer Cox live down his June 2021 plea to Utahns to pray for rain and snow. But, in Utah, we understand—if the need is dire enough, “the Lord will provide.” And, with a need as dire as not enough water, Utahns know it’s time to humble ourselves before Him and pray for rain.

All Utahns also know that “the Lord helps those who help themselves,” and we help ourselves to as much water as we want. In Utah, water conservation guidelines exist so we can judge thy neighbors’ broken sprinklers spraying into the street. We pray that Bill will mend his wicked ways. But really, what does Bill care? In Utah, water is cheap. Cheaper than fixing a broken sprinkler.

There are just so many reasons we just can’t conserve water here. Water less? City ordinances commandeth that lawns be green. Xeriscape? The HOA would throw a fit. See. We can’t help it. That we have the highest per capita water use and the lowest water prices in the nation is God’s will. 

But behold! A study from the Lord’s university, BYU, found that in July 2022, Saratoga Springs residents reduced their water use by 22%. A miracle? No. The city charges users tiered rates depending on how much water they use. The more water they use, the more expensive each gallon gets, and the size of the city’s irrigation allotment is adjusted based on drought conditions. So, when there’s less water to go around, everyone’s allotment shrinks. It’s kind of a reverse-loaves-and-fishes deal.

And Lo! In Blanding, the city has a single, isolated water system for drinking and irrigation, as God intended, so they had to get creative to circumvent His will. The city’s engineers forecast the water supply for the year based on snowpack, runoff and storage, and the city council sets the water rates and allotments based on that forecast. They have a color-coded system to communicate the conditions to residents that goes from Green (water your lawn guilt-free) to Red (only indoor use is allowed, feel extremely guilty when watering your lawn). Blanding charges water users a base rate as well as a tiered rate according to the proportion of the allotment they use. In 2022, Blanding was at Orange (water is scarce and outdoor watering is restricted, so feel a little guilty), and residents used 14% less water in 2022 than in 2021.

Those towns have proven we can conserve water and weather a drought without divine intervention. Blasphemy! What are they trying to do? Make the rest of us look bad? These Doubting Thomases now are given to understand that Governor Cox made it come to pass. This year, the Lord answered our prayers with a multitude of moisture. Hallelujah! Rejoice! It’s another year we don’t have to do anything but pray. 

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Christie Porter
Christie Porter
Christie Porter is the managing editor of Salt Lake Magazine. She has worked as a journalist for nearly a decade, writing about everything under the sun, but she really loves writing about nerdy things and the weird stuff. She recently published her first comic book short this year.

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