Landscapes at some Latter-day Saint temples and meetinghouses may be allowed to turn brown and become dormant during the drought plaguing the American West, the Church of Jesus Christ said Wednesday.

The church also may permanently change some landscaping to reduce water use.

“Much of the American West is experiencing serious drought,” the statement said. “In this area of the United States, the church is working to reduce water use in all our buildings and facilities, including exterior landscaping.”

Church leaders asked members and others to join their effort to conserve water.

“We all play a part in preserving the critical resources needed to sustain life — especially water — and we invite others to join us in reducing water use wherever possible,” the statement said.

The church said it has reduced water by one-third at its historic sites.

A map shows the severity of the drought gripping the western United States. Most of Utah is in extreme drought.
A map shows the severity of the drought gripping the western United States. Most of Utah is in extreme drought. The darkest color represents the area experiencing exceptional drought. The map is jointly produced by the National Drought Mitigation Center at the University of Nebraska-Lincoln, the United States Department of Agriculture and the National Oceanic and Atmospheric Administration. | National Drought Mitigation Center

“Watering of lawns and landscapes at temples, meetinghouses and other buildings is being reduced,” the statement said. “In some cases, landscape will be permitted to brown and become dormant.”

The church said it has been installing irrigation systems and plumbing systems that conserve water in new buildings constructed since the early 2000s. It also is using more secondary and reclaimed water while installing more smart controllers and other systems to reduce water usage.

Here is the full release:

The Church of Jesus Christ of Latter-day Saints released the following statement on Wednesday, June 22, 2022:

Members of The Church of Jesus Christ of Latter-day Saints throughout the world live in a variety of environmental circumstances. In one area, there may be serious drought, while in another wet conditions can cause significant flooding. In all regions and circumstances, we teach that we have a responsibility to care for and gratefully use what God has given, avoid wasting resources and wisely use the bounty of the earth to care for one another.

Much of the American West is experiencing serious drought. In this area of the United States, the church is working to reduce water use in all our buildings and facilities, including exterior landscaping. The church has installed water-wise irrigation systems and low-flow plumbing systems in buildings constructed since the early 2000s and continues to retrofit older systems. Water conservation efforts continue to include the expansion of smart controllers, hydrometers, rain sensors, drip irrigation and use of secondary or reclaimed water. Additionally, we have adjusted watering schedules to meet local government guidelines, and we continue to monitor the conditions of all of church properties.

Watering of lawns and landscapes at temples, meetinghouses and other buildings is being reduced. In some cases, landscape will be permitted to brown and become dormant. Church historic sites in regions affected by drought have successfully reduced water usage by one-third. In addition, planning is underway to identify landscape changes that will permanently reduce water use. These include more native plants, low-utility lawns and water management practices.

We all play a part in preserving the critical resources needed to sustain life — especially water — and we invite others to join us in reducing water use wherever possible. We gladly join with friends of other faiths in prayer to our Heavenly Father for rain and respite from the devastating drought.