Short films tackle Utah's water issues

Allen Glines

From left to right: Issac Goeckeritz, Hal Crimmel  Source: Goeckeritz' (Goeckeritz) Website and WSU Website (Crimmel) with permission
From left to right: Isaac Goeckeritz and Hal Crimmel.
(Photos provided by Isaac Goeckeritz and Weber State University)

Isaac Goeckeritz, a local documentary filmmaker, and Hal Crimmel, Weber State University English professor, will be presenting two short films based on a book Crimmel recently edited titled “Desert Water: The Future of Utah’s Water Resources” in the Wildcat Theater in the Shepherd Union on Monday at 7 p.m. This event is free to the community and members of WSU’s faculty and student body.

The book Crimmel edited is a collection of essays that discuss water resources in the state of Utah. Each author takes a particular stance on the issue and presents their arguments with ample citations to back them up.

As a whole, the book is aimed towards discussing Utah’s water issues at present while also looking for future solutions.

“The book was published by the University of Utah Press in fall 2014,” Crimmel said. “And includes contributions from many individuals, including WSU Professors Sara Dant, Dan Bedford and Eric Ewert, as well as from professors at BYU, USU, the U of U and from writers and public policy makers.”

The short films Crimmel and Goeckeritz will present are titled “Desert Water: A New Water Ethic” and “Desert Water: Climate Change and the Future of the Great Salt Lake.” The screening and discussion of these films is part of the Weber Historical Society fall 2015 lecture series.

According to a press release put out by Weber State University, Goeckeritz came on board for this project after Crimmel approached him following the release of his 2014 film about Utah’s air quality, produced for local PBS affiliate KUED.

Goeckeritz said he enjoyed putting together “Desert Water: Climate Change and the Future of the Great Salt Lake” because he was able to take time to visit the lake and surrounding wetlands to shoot the footage. However, after seeing the current condition of the Great Salt Lake, Goeckeritz was shocked.

“When you go out there, it’s really surprising how low the lake levels have fallen,” Goeckeritz said. “In the film, we talk about some of the causes, but also make a point that there really isn’t a system in place right now to try and reverse the low water levels.”

Despite his concern, Goeckeritz saw the potential role the films could play. He hopes the short films will show the beauty and value of The Great Salt Lake and spark viewers’ interest in preserving it.

“Simply put, water is essential to human life. It provides the foundation for our environment and economy,” Crimmel said in WSU’s press release. “Without wise use of water, both our livelihoods and quality of life are negatively impacted

Statements by Goeckeritz seem to echo Crimmel’s thoughts.

“In Utah, there is only so much water,” Goeckeritz said. “That means if you or your neighbor wastes water, someone else doesn’t have enough.”

Next up in the Weber Historical Society Fall 2015 Lecture Series is a lecture by Bill Adler titled “The Man Who Never Died: The Life Legacy of Joe Hill After a Century.” This lecture focuses on Joe Hill, a radical labor activist and songwriter who was executed in Utah for murder, and the legacy he left behind. It will be held on Monday, November 16 at 7 p.m. in Dumke Hall in the Hurst Learning Center.