The LDS church plans water conservation measures amid drought
The Church of Jesus Christ of Latter-day Saints announced Wednesday that it is trying harder to conserve water amid Utah's ongoing, devastating drought.
- Just about the entire state is experiencing severe drought conditions, with more than 80% at the "extreme" level.
Why it matters: The Church is influential in Utah, and a pledge to conserve could prompt its members to rethink their own water use.
- Mormon reluctance on environmental action has been linked to the faith's conservative political ties.
- But the politics of environmentalism are rapidly changing in Utah, with Republican lawmakers increasingly supporting policy solutions to drought and pollution.
- Church authorities historically have not been as vocal as other faith leaders on environmental issues, and polling by The Salt Lake Tribune and Hinckley Institute of Politics shows that many members have resisted calls to action on climate change.
Details: Church officials say they are using landscape and plumbing techniques to reduce water use at properties in the western United States.
- They will use more smart controllers, rain sensors, and drip irrigation outdoors.
- The Church is also letting grass go dormant and brown "in some cases" and is considering more native plants in its outdoor spaces.
Flashback: In 2021, leaders removed a fountain from Temple Square as part of the site's new drought-conscious landscaping and said it was following state guidelines for watering grass.
- In 2015, the Church stopped watering the lawn outside its Westwood, California Temple in response to the drought there.
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