Health

LDS church plans water conservation measures amid drought

Illustration: Aïda Amer/Axios

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.

Yes, but: Church leaders have not always swayed members from conservative cultural norms like opposition to COVID vaccines and immigration.

Context: The Church has been criticized for maintaining expansive, lush lawns at some of its places of worship, which are ubiquitous in the arid mountain west.

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.

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