This summer's unusually hot and dry weather means that fire is a disaster Utahns are becoming well acquainted with. Todd Crowl, a professor in Utah State University's Department of Watershed Sciences, says the changing climate combined with Utah's rapid increase in water consumption points to the immediate need for new water practices.
"All of that says we're going to have real serious issues and challenges in Utah as well as most of the West and event the Midwest in terms of future water, water availability, and water sustainability."
Crowl heads a program called iUtah (innovative Urban Transitions and Aridregion Hydro-Sustainability) that aims to explore how population growth, climate change, and land use affect the land's water sustainability.
"This project is really designed to help us think about what the climate is telling us, how people make decisions about water use, how we value water, and we can overall think about providing a more sustainable water network. We need to get better about how we use water."
iUtah recently received a $20 million grand from the National Science Foundation to continue its work. Crowl says he expects the project to be up and running within a year.