Water regulators say lawn care is causing the most strain to state reservoirs, call on people to cut back
SALT LAKE COUNTY – It appears many Utahns across the Wasatch Front are getting the message that we are in a terrible water situation. Regulators say they’re seeing improvements and they’re giving less water than last year, but they say we can still cut our water use significantly by changing how we water our lawns.
The Jordan Valley Conservancy District provides water to most of southwestern Salt Lake County, where the highest amount of growth is happening. Because of this growth, they expected to see their residents using much more water than before. However, Spokesperson Linda Cook says water use has stayed relatively steady in recent years.
In May of 2021, the district actually gave its wholesale providers 488.8 million fewer gallons than by May of 2020. However, she says people are still putting too much water on their lawns.
“Sixty percent of our culinary water goes on our landscapes,” according to Cook.
She believes Utahns could essentially cut their lawn-watering in half, overall.
“Historically, Utahns have put 50 inches of water on their lawns every year, when, in actuality, they only need 24,” Cook says. “[Some people are] watering three, four, five… sometimes seven times a week. They’re using a lot of water.”
During an average year, Cook says we use over 200 gallons per person, per day, with the vast majority of that use happening in the warmer months. In the summer, it’s possible people could use more than 500 gallons per person, per day, with most of that going to the grass.
“If you have four people in your home, that’s 2,000 gallons every day that’s going to that home,” she says.
Cook says it’s hard to accurately measure how Utahns use water compared to people in other states since not every state measures water use in the same way. For instance, Cook says some states don’t track water use in showers since the grey water is put into secondary systems and sent to sprinklers.
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