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Utah Public Radio Receives Grant to Explore Water Management in Utah

Thursday, Aug. 22, 2013

Utah water illistration, five billion gallons

UPR has received a grant and will produce a program called "Five Billion Gallons" airing in fall 2013. It is part of Penn State Public Media's documentary project Water Blues, Green Solutions.

Utah Public Radio is a winner of the Penn State Public Media “Think Outside the Pipes” local reporting initiative. Funds were awarded to six public radio stations to produce stories that confront public policy issues of managing water. UPR is the only station in the western United States to receive the grant.

UPR is using the grant to produce a program called “Five Billion Gallons” that will begin airing in fall 2013. Matt Jensen is the program’s lead reporter.

“We use five billion gallons of water each day in Utah,” Jensen said. “We’re the second highest per-capita user of water behind Nevada. We’re hoping to tell the stories of where at least some of that water goes each day and what it goes through.”

Topics the program will cover include the changing water needs of a rapidly urbanizing state, the effects of climate change on Utah’s reservoirs, new forms of water pollution that aren’t regulated yet and the hi-tech way farmers are predicting how much water they need for irrigation.

UPR’s program is a supporting component of Penn State Public Media’s Water Blues, Green Solutions, a documentary project that shares stories of communities innovating green solutions for issues like flooding, pollution and scarcity.

“Utah could sing the water blues all night long,” said Jennifer Pemberton, the project’s producer. “Water issues are part of our daily life in the West. We are delighted to have the opportunity to share Utah’s water woes and some of the creative people trying to solve them with a larger audience through this project.”

Pemberton and Jensen will co-host the program.

UPR’s general manager Kerry Bringhurst said that grant awards like this one from Penn State Public Media help the station bring relevant content to the state.

“Financial support from our listeners keeps the station going, but these extra funds mean that we can dig deeper into the issues that matter most to Utahns,” Bringhurst said. We’re grateful to have the opportunity to produce this program and be part of the Water Blues, Green Solutions project.”

Water Blues, Green Solutions will be nationally distributed on public television stations in January 2014. Funding for the grant comes from the Park Foundation, an organization dedicated to media that heightens public awareness of critical environmental issues.

Utah Public Radio broadcasts from the main campus of Utah State University in Logan and is a service of the College of Humanities and Social Sciences, providing national news and public radio programming as well as local Utah news on a statewide network of translators.

Related links:

Utah Public Radio

Water Blues, Green Solutions


Kerry Bringhurst, 435-797-1352,

Jennifer Pemberton, 435-797-0705,

Matt Jensen, 435-797-9679,

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