Tribune Editorial: Talking about drought without facing climate is a waste of time

April 02, 2021 (Salt Lake Tribune)

Even before the current drought — or the one that inspired a similar declaration from then-Gov. Gary Herbert in 2018 — Utah has put far too much effort into pretending we’re not a desert. A 2014 report from the Utah Foundation notes that 82% of Utah’s water usage is for agriculture, and half of that goes to grow alfalfa, much of which is exported as animal feed, taking with it more water than is used by all of Utah’s cities and towns.

To the degree that Cox’s emergency declaration is intended to qualify Utah farmers for federal disaster aid, rather than move our state’s economy away from that cash crop, it may be a bad idea.

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