Scaling UP! H2O

347 Ripple Effect: How Utah’s Water Strategies Impact Us All

“With water, everybody loses or everybody wins.” – Emily Lewis

Embark on a transformative journey into the intricate world of water management with Emily E. Lewis on the latest episode of Scaling UP! H2O Podcast. Join us as Emily, Director and Shareholder, Co-Chair of Clyde Snow & SessionsNatural Resources and Water Law Practice Group, unravels the complexities of water law, making it not just informative but relevant to your daily life as a water professional.

In this episode, Emily shares her wealth of expertise, garnered from advising a diverse clientele, including individual water right owners, municipalities, and mining companies. As the Utah Water Banking Project Manager and host of the Ripple Effect podcast, Emily brings a unique perspective that transcends the confines of Utah, offering insights that resonate with water professionals nationwide.

Delve into the future of water management as Emily discusses regulations, permits, and laws related to groundwater and water access. No need for legal jargon; Emily breaks down the role of water attorneys, offering practical insights into water laws, discharge and runoff permits, and the delicate balance between water quality and quantity.

This isn’t just theory; Emily addresses the real challenges you, as water treaters, face daily – from increasing water demands and population growth to the pressing need for innovative water management strategies. Gain the tools to have meaningful conversations with customers, stay abreast of local water legislation, and empower yourself to contribute when water laws are on the table in your state.

Emily shares real-world examples, such as the Utah Water Banking Project, showcasing how a drought-stricken state overcame water challenges with inventive marketing strategies. Learn from a century of water management in Utah and understand the unique water challenges faced by water management of the Great Salt Lake.

Discover collaborative efforts between industrial water treatment teams and legal experts, providing you with a roadmap to shape effective water policies. For Emily, water access is not just about wins and losses; it’s about collective victories and shared successes.



01:00 – Trace Blackmore shares the best unexpected Christmas gift he got

06:00 – Upcoming Events for Water Treatment Professionals 

09:00 – Drop by Drop With James McDonald

12:30 – Interview with Emily E. Lewis the Director and Shareholder, Co-Chair of Natural Resources and Water Law at Clyde Snow & Sessions



“The ability to drop a well and get more water is getting more and more limited, and physically the water is not there, and then legally it’s a heavily regulated space these days.”  – Emily E. Lewis

“With water, everybody loses or everybody wins.” – Emily E. Lewis

“In the West, we are in an acute water crisis. We do not have very much water and we have ballooning populations and ballooning needs. As we grow, where are we getting the water to support our new growth?” – Emily E. Lewis

“In Utah, 70% of our water is used by agriculture and so we are working hand in hand with our agricultural partners to try and figure out ways to make those operations as efficient as possible because we really want to also keep our agricultural community. You know the solution is not to dry up Ag. The solution is to work with Ag.” – Emily E. Lewis


Connect with Emily E. Lewis



Utah Water Banking Project

LinkedIn: in/emily-e-lewis-4a50321b


Emily also teaches Water Law for Professionals at the University of Utah

Listen to Ripple Effect – A Podcast Putting Water in Context HERE

Read or Download Emily Lewis’ Press Release HERE

Utah’s Five Key Milestones to Successful Water Marketing


Links Mentioned

Water Marketing Strategy Report 

The Ripple Effect Podcast

Natural Resources and Water Law Practice Group – Clyde Snow

Ep 166 Reading The Raven

Undone (The Sweater Song) by Weezer

State of Utah’s Water Rights Handbook

Kevin MercerRainGrid, Inc

Aquacycl – Industrial Wastewater Treatment Solutions

Margaret Mitchell House in Atlanta

John Wesley Powell – Former Director of the United States Geological Survey 

The Rising Tide Mastermind

Scaling UP! H2O Academy video courses

Submit a Show Idea

AWT (Association of Water Technologies)


Books and Articles Mentioned

A Mystery of Mysteries: The Death and Life of Edgar Allan Poe by Mark Dawidziak

Betz Handbook of Industrial Water Conditioning (9th Ed) by Betz Laboratories

The New York Times’ Uncharted Waters: America Is Using Up Its Groundwater Like There’s No Tomorrow

New York Times Opinion: Getting Real About Coal and Climate by Paul Krugman

Natural Law and Prior Appropriation in Water Law  (Page 46) by Robert W. Adler

Gone With The Wind by Margaret Mitchell

Beyond the Hundredth Meridian: John Wesley Powell and the Second Opening of the West by Wallace Stegner

Angle of Repose by Wallace Stegner


Drop By Drop with James 

In today’s episode, we’re thinking about the carbonic acid, bicarbonate, and carbonate distribution as a function of pH. Now, I sometimes have the memory of a goldfish, but this is one time I get to claim to have a photographic memory by saying, “Oh yes, that is found in the graph on page 6 of the 9th edition of the ‘Betz Handbook of Industrial Water Conditioning.’” I don’t know why the exact page number has always stuck with me, but I cut my teeth on this book, and apparently parts of it adhered to my brain.   

Anyway, as gaseous carbon dioxide dissolves into water, it reacts with the water molecules to form carbonic acid. This carbonic acid can depress the pH of the water, but being a weak acid, it won’t lower the pH below 4.3 by itself. If we raise the pH of the water, you will see the carbonic acid gradually start to transform into bicarbonate ions or HCO31-. This transformation is complete at a pH of about 8.3. If we keep raising the pH, we see this bicarbonate then transforms into carbonate ions or CO32-. By simply adjusting the pH of the water up and down, these three species of carbonic acid, bicarbonate, and carbonate can be converted from one into the other.   

Now, alkalinity is the acid absorbing property of water, and as we just heard, these bicarbonate and carbonate ions are absorbing acid. Typically, when we talk about alkalinity, we are talking about bicarbonate and carbonate ions, although there are other ions that can impact alkalinity as well, such as hydroxide. 

You may have recognized the key pHs I mentioned previously: 4.3 and 8.3. Those just happen to be the pHs where the Total Alkalinity and P-Alkalinity endpoints are, respectively. These are two of the tests you use to measure alkalinity in water.   

All this is shown in that graph I mentioned before found on page 6 of the 9th edition of the “Betz Handbook of Industrial Water Conditioning.” It’s found in Figure 1-2, actually. I’ll be sure to share a link to the graph for Trace to include in the show notes of this episode.  

Understanding the carbonic acid, bicarbonate, and carbonate distribution as a function of pH is important for many reasons, such as when trying to reduce alkalinity with a degassing tower, troubleshooting why carbon dioxide is found in RO permeate, understanding how alkalinity impacts scale forming potential, and more. 


2024 Events for Water Professionals

Check out our Scaling UP! H2O Events Calendar where we’ve listed every event Water Treaters should be aware of by clicking HERE or using the dropdown menu.


Water Treatment education

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