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Water use down by more than 30% in portions of Salt Lake Valley

Washington Terrace is encouraging residents to cut back on watering their lawns this year saying "tan is the new green" (Washington Terrace City)

SALT LAKE CITY — After a long summer of yellow lawns and talk of water conservation by state officials, water use is down in at least one portion of the Salt Lake Valley.

“We just got some numbers,” said Linda Towns with the Jordan Valley Water Conservancy District. “They’re actually weather adjusted. So [with] the weather and [compared to] this time last year, we’re actually down 31%.”

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In other words, the agency delivered 31% less water to consumers this year than at this time last year. For comparison purposes, that district serves the southwestern portion of the Salt Lake Valley, including Bluffdale, South Jordan, Herriman, West Jordan and West Valley City.

Towns said Utahns knew about the drought, wanted to help and responded accordingly. And she gives them credit for the numbers she’s seeing today.

Gov. Spencer Cox was one of the first to voice concern earlier this year. In March 2020 he said that most areas in the state of Utah were experiencing “exceptional drought,” and that 90% of those areas in drought in Utah were considered to be in “extreme” drought.

Among those areas with extreme drought, 50% were also labeled as being in “exceptional” drought.

On a scale of 1 to 5, 5 being the worst, extreme drought is number 4. And exceptional drought is number 5.

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It was during the summer that Utahns could help the most with shoring up water and curbing its use. Now that it’s autumn, we have to look to snowpack for more help in easing the drought.

“We are at the mercy of Mother Nature,” said Towns, “and it’s really difficult to predict what she’s going to do. So of course we’re hopeful. We have to be.”

She said watering restrictions will likely continue next summer. She reminded homeowners that as the temperatures fall, so does the lawn’s need for water. 

It’s also a good time to plant more water-wise and native plants to continue the cycle of easing up on water use in the high desert of Utah for years to come.

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