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Water Talk-About?

by Sharon Gillespie

I attended the meeting on water Thursday night and had a few thoughts.

First, bravo Rocky Vista on an amazing building and conference center, and for allowing us to use it. The room was packed and there was overflow to an adjacent conference area.

There were three presentations to start the night off. Mike Scott, Ivins City Council, Chuck Gillette, IvinsPublic Works and Zach Renstrom, General Manager for the Washington County Water Conservancy District (WCWCD). Mike Scott was great and presented some hard-hitting dilemmas. Chuck Gillette is extremely knowledgeable and presented good data as well. I felt Zach Renstrom’s presentation could have been more effective, like the one he recently gave at the “What’s Up Down South” program by the St George Area Economic Development. At the end of the night, it felt like it was more of a “Talk AT” than a “Talk About” as once again there was more talking coming from the podium than the residents in the audience…and did I mention the room was packed? As the lecture went on, the audience started to shrink…significantly.

What was the bottom line? Apparently, we have plenty of water to continue developing…until we don’t. Not sure if that is a good strategy. Plans for additional sources and reuse are years and millions of dollars away, but they are in the plans, which is a positive.

So according to Mayor Hart, the City of Ivins cannot deny development based on water because the WCWCD says we have plenty. But, they are telling us we are basically in a water emergency and the residents have to conserve. Big disconnect!!

The “Will Serve Letter” the mayor spoke of last November at the town halls, has never been signed off on by the cities. This was where developers signed the letter, and they were told there would be water if they accomplished the final plat within a certain time frame. Otherwise, they lose their place in line and must start the clock over and there may not be water by then. (This is a synopsis of my understanding.)

One panel member spoke of Las Vegas and what they have accomplished. It is amazing how they have managed reuse and conservation but they also have the reuse infrastructure to make it happen. The speaker refers to the “culture of conservation” that we need to create. I won’t argue that, but it is challenging to create a culture of conservation when you have 20 people staying in a Short-Term Rental who don't care about conservation or culture. The response was, they use less as there is no irrigation. I would like to see the data on that. So, how do you build this culture when there is reckless development continuing?

By far, the biggest disappointment, to us, was that more of the residents were again…not heard.


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