Senator Daniel McCay has introduced Senate Bill 195, which aims to address the issue of water use at golf courses in Utah. The bill mandates the Utah State University Institute of Land, Air and Water to conduct a comprehensive study of water usage across all golf courses in the state. Recent data from the Salt Lake Tribune indicates that Utah’s golf courses collectively utilized approximately 23,600 acre-feet of water in 2022.

Protection of Water Data Raises Concerns

However, the bill also includes provisions to safeguard the water usage data obtained from both public and private golf courses. This is in contrast to the current requirement for public golf courses to disclose such information. As a result, the protected status of this data would prevent its public release under Utah’s Government Records Access and Management Act.

Implications for Government Transparency and Accountability

The bill’s approach to protecting water data has drawn criticism from the Utah Transparency Project, which assesses legislative proposals based on their transparency and accountability. The project has labeled the bill as having a “closed door” rating, emphasizing the importance of making such information accessible to the public. It contends that the availability of this data is crucial for policymakers to effectively address Utah’s water crisis.

Importance of Access to Water Information

David Tarboton, the director of Utah State University’s Water Research Laboratory, underscores the significance of water-related data in light of the critical water levels in the Great Salt Lake and Utah’s arid climate. He emphasizes the need to comprehensively understand the sources and usage of water in order to make informed decisions regarding conservation efforts and water allocation.

Future of the Bill

Senate Bill 195 has successfully passed through the Senate; however, as of February 13, it has yet to secure a sponsor in the House. Despite the bill’s progress, concerns remain regarding the accessibility of water usage data and its potential impact on addressing Utah’s water challenges.

If you’re a golfer who also care about sustainability, here’s our list of eco-friendly golf courses in the US.

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