City offers water conservation tips to residentsAug 09, 2021 11:08AM ● By Mimi Darley Dutton
Like many lawns, this one at Summit Academy is dotted with dry patches. It’s an indication that people are taking measures to conserve water beginning with reducing sprinkler use. Grass can rebound more easily than trees and shrubs, so limiting lawn watering is a first step in water conservation. (Mimi Darley Dutton/City Journals)
By Mimi Darley Dutton | [email protected]
Green and yellow are the trending colors of summer 2021, that is patches of dry yellow grass mixed with the traditional green. Utah is experiencing an extreme drought and all residents are being asked to conserve water.
“I am personally going to flip my strip, re-doing it to water-wise. My lawn is practically dead. My family followed the governor’s recommendation and we’ve focused most of our watering on our trees and shrubs,” Draper Mayor Troy Walker said. “We’re encouraging residents to go out to the Conservation Garden Park to see what options there are. It’s really great what you can do that is beautiful and saves water. We’re hoping people will go to check those gardens out, apply for grants, and look for ways to change what they’re doing.”
According to Walker, other cities are able to restrict water because they have their own water utility that controls the supply, but Draper does not. The city and its residents purchase water from Jordan Valley Water Conservancy District and WaterPro. “They’re telling us if we can continue to cut down lawn watering and move toward water-wise landscaping…Jordan Valley doesn’t feel like we’re in dire straits yet as far as supplying water. We are in dire straits as far as the drought is concerned. Conservation is a big deal. The more we do, the better we are,” Walker said.
Draper residents used to pay a flat fee with WaterPro, but recently, customers began getting water bills based on usage. “If you get something for a flat fee, you use as much as you want. But if you’re paying for every gallon, I think it’s definitely changed people’s perspective. We’re the second driest state in the country. The amount of grass we have is silly. We all love lawns but it’s a big use of water,” Walker said.
Linda Peterson, Draper’s communications director, said the city has tried to put water-wise education out at least once a week for residents. Inside June billing statements, residents received a letter co-signed by WaterPro’s general manager and Mayor Walker with six recommendations of ways to save water:
- Water no more than twice weekly
- Don’t water when it’s windy
- Don’t water between 10 a.m. and 6 p.m.
- Prioritize watering: trees first, then shrubs, perennials, annuals, and finally grass (grass is resilient and will go dormant, then recover when conditions improve)
- Mow your lawn higher: 3-4 inches is recommended for deep roots, better drought tolerance
- Install a smart irrigation controller and get a rebate (visit UtahWaterSavers.com)
Peterson said the Draper City Council approved a $250,000 investment in water conservation efforts. The city will be removing grass from medians and replacing it with xeriscape in some areas of city property. The Draper City’s irrigation clocks were updated with a technology that uses an analysis of data from weather stations to water more efficiently. For instance, if the data shows a rain shower just occurred in an area, the irrigation clocks would know not to run the sprinklers there. New trees and plants being purchased for the city’s parks and medians are chosen for drought tolerance.
The city asks that if anyone observes broken sprinklers or irrigation lines on city property, or sprinklers running for long periods of time, contact the parks department during business hours at 801-576-6570 and after hours at 801-831-7194.
“The city is doing our part and we hope residents will be aware of the severity of the situation. For this year, our water supply is sufficient to maintain this level of usage, but if things don’t improve by next summer, we might get into watering restrictions. We’re hoping everyone makes changes this summer so we won’t have to deal with more extreme measures next year,” Peterson said.
Water-wise resources include: Conservation Garden Park, 8215 S. 1300 West in West Jordan, conservationgardenpark.org, UtahWaterSavers.com, Slowtheflow.org, Conservewater.utah.gov, waterpro.net or follow Utah Division of Water Resources on social media.