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Thank you to everyone who attended the 11th Annual Salt Lake County Watershed Symposium! This free two-day conference encourages a comprehensive review of the current state of our watershed while creating learning opportunities for a diverse array of stakeholders. Sessions covered a broad range of topics on water quality and watershed issues with local, regional, and national relevance. Hosted by Salt Lake County Watershed Planning & Restoration.

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"The Symposium is tremendously important to the future of all of Utah. You guys are educating stakeholders across Northern Utah in an objective, user-friendly way about issues, problems and concerns that are not being discussed publicly anywhere else."  -Zach Frankel, Utah Rivers Council


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Wednesday, November 15 • 9:10am - 9:40am
Creating Water Strategy Using High-Altitude Idea Collisions

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Creating Water Strategy Using High-Altitude Idea Collisions

Summary:
In 2013, Utah Gov. Gary R. Herbert launched a water strategy initiative that became a three-phase, four-year process and ended in an exemplary synthesis of ideas and ideologies. The presentation describes lessons learned by the team in managing the “human factor” among the high deserts, political polarity, and powdery peaks of Utah.

Full Abstract:
Creating Water Strategy Using High-Altitude Idea Collisions In 2013, Utah Governor Gary R. Herbert launched a water strategy initiative that became a three-phase, four-year process and ended in an exemplary synthesis of ideas and ideologies. The process culminated in a series of reports, with a 201-page final report and its 93 recommendations delivered to Gov. Herbert by the diverse 41-member advisory team in July, 2017.

The three phases produced distinct deliverables consisting of:
  • In Phase 1, extensive public comments and written reports on six key topics. 
  • In Phase 2, participation in the Envision Utah Your Utah, Your Future statewide visioning project. The project produced two public values surveys that ranked water as the most significant issue affecting Utah’s future. 
  • In Phase 3, a 201-page final report from a diverse 41-member advisory team that included 93 recommendations organized around eleven key policy questions. 
The key policy questions addressed are listed below (quoted verbatim from the report):
1. What is the role of water conservation and efficiency in Utah?
2. How will diverted water supplies be developed to meet competing and ever increasing demands?
3. How does Utah provide water for agricultural lands and food production in the face of competing water demands?
4. What should we do to preserve natural systems in the face of increasing water demands?
5. How do we protect and sustain the quality of Utah’s water?
6. How will Utah plan for, adequately fund, and use innovative solutions to maintain, replace, and redesign existing water infrastructure and build new water infrastructure over the next 40-50 years?
7. In what ways will weather and a changing climate impact future water supply and demand?
8. How do we optimize our water resources to sustain the economy and quality of life for Utah residents?
9. What is the framework for Utah water law and policy, and how will stakeholders modernize it?
10. What is the role of policymakers, both elected and appointed, at all levels of government?
11. What roles will science, technology, and innovation play in addressing Utah's future water needs?

The team included a broad range of stakeholder interests and viewpoints, yet the team members reached agreement on the report. As stated in the report, the advisory team recommendations represent not only a collaborative and balanced look at the key water issues facing Utah, but also an outreach and education effort to Governor Herbert and other “elected officials and policymakers, water planners, state and federal agencies, nongovernmental organizations, water user groups, and the public at large.” The presentation describes interplay among the stakeholders in developing a consensus report, key findings, the team decisions to emphasize climate change adaptation rather than causation, and to emphasize conservation, and the prospects for implementation of significant recommendations. It also includes lessons learned by the team in managing the “human factor” among the high deserts, political polarity, and powdery peaks of Utah.

Speakers
avatar for Ari Bruening

Ari Bruening

Chief Operating Officer, Envision Utah
Ari Bruening has extensive experience in visioning and implementation efforts for regions and large-scale projects. Prior to joining Envision Utah, he helped manage visioning and entitlement projects for the San Diego region; Laie, Hawaii; the 93,000-acre Kennecott Land Company project in Salt Lake County; the 175,000-acre Superstition Vistas Arizona state trust land parcel; and the 300,000-acre Deseret Ranches of Florida landholding near the Orlando International Airport. He represented Kennecott Land Company in the land use planning and approval effort for over 90,000 acres on Salt Lake's West Bench, including the 4,000-acre Daybreak community that has received widespread acclaim. Ari, an AICP certified planner, graduated magna cum laude from Harvard Law School, where he was an editor for the Harvard Law Review. He is the author of "The TDR Siren Song: The Problems with Transferable Development Rights Programs and How to Fix Them," 23 Journal of Land Use... Read More →



Attendees (19)