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Drought still gripping Utah, but residents using less water

Green grass clippings in black garbage bag on lawn (Adobe Stock)

SALT LAKE CITY — Although July 2021 was one of the wettest months on record in Utah, the state is still experiencing drought conditions, but residents are moving in the right direction by limiting water use, said an H2O expert. 

New today:

Irrigation companies shutting off water early because of the drought

Linda Towns of the Jordan Valley Water Conservancy District joins the KSL NewsRadio’s Debbie Dujanovic to give an update on how Utah is managing the drought this year. She said she is seeing a 15% to 20% reduction in water use this year.

Doing her part in Utah’s exceptional drought, Debbie said her water bill has been reduced by about a third of what she normally pays this time of year. She said she paid $66 last month vs. $200 for past summer months.

When it rains, Debbie also said she alerts her Facebook followers to turn off their sprinklers.

What can we do to get out of this drought?

“Well, I don’t know that we can do anything to get out of the drought. We’re very dependent on Mother Nature,” Towns said.

What we can do, she said, is preserve water for next year. She added that Deer Creek Reservoir northeast of Provo is currently 63% full and Jordanelle Reservoir north of Heber City is now 56%, down from 80% from June.

“We’re burning through it,” she said.

While the state is in a drought, Towns said her main message is for property owners to move toward a drought-resilient style of landscaping.

She added that South Jordan, Herriman, Bluffdale and West Jordan have all adopted water-efficiency standards that require more stringent outdoor-landscaping ordinances.

“I think that’s the wave of the future,” Towns said.

Do you over-lawn?

Planting drought-tolerant plants and xeriscaping is only part of preserving water. Plant grass only where it is useful and needed, said Towns.

“If the only time you walk on your grass is to mow it, you probably don’t need lawn there,” she said.

Debbie said she plans to extend her backyard deck and let the grass underneath it die.

Drip watering is better for the drought

Through a system of plastic tubing, drip irrigation delivers a slow, efficient water flow to the roots of plants.

“A lot of people are still using overhead spray, and it’s just not as efficient. You’re spraying the whole area as opposed to just watering the roots that need it,” Towns said.

Drip irrigation can reduce water use by 30 to 70 percent compared to conventional sprinkler irrigation. Because of  the scattered spray from winds, evaporation, run-off or deep leaching, sprinklers can waste water, according to Landscape Business.

Background:

Gov. Cox declares Utah’s drought a state of emergency 

July 2021 goes down as one of the wettest ever, but drought persists

Dave & Dujanovic can be heard weekdays from 9 a.m. to noon. on KSL NewsRadio. Users can find the show on the KSL NewsRadio website and app, a.s well as Apple Podcasts and Google Play.