UTAH DROUGHT

Ogden mayor declares water shortage, implements watering restrictions

May 4, 2022, 4:38 PM
Ogden water shortage...
The north and south branches of the South Fork of the Ogden River flow into Pineview Reservoir near Huntsville, Weber County, on Monday, June 28, 2021. Photo credit: Spenser Heaps, Deseret News

OGDEN, Utah — The Mayor of Ogden is setting some strict water rules after declaring the city is in a state of severe water shortage. The guidelines he’s issuing are effective immediately.

Cited in the mayor’s announcement was that the snowpack is at 65% of the average, and Pineview Reservoir storage is currently at 52% of its capacity (it was 58% in 2021, and at 74% in 2020.)

The move by Mayor Mike Caldwell comes after the Ogden City Council voted unanimously on Tuesday to move the city into the second phase of its Water Shortage Management Plan. The plan is designed to ebb and flow with conservation efforts, depending on drought severity. 

Ogden water shortage leads to multiple watering requirements

This phase and these requirements are in place, said the Ogden City water manager, until Nov. 1 or until further notice:

  • No outdoor irrigation between 10 am – 6 pm;
  • Wait to water grass until it shows visible signs of stress. Limit irrigation to 2 days per week;
    • 20 minutes per irrigation for pop-up sprays, 40-minutes for rotors (½-inch of water per irrigation);
  • All residential water customers of Ogden City are encouraged to reduce their water use by at least ten percent and commercial water customers are encouraged to implement a water management plan and reduce their water use by at least fifteen percent;
  • Maintain and properly adjust your irrigation system to avoid wasting water. Adjust watering times based on weather and follow the conservewater.utah.gov weekly watering guide, grass needs less water than you think;
  • Use a swimming pool cover when the pool is not in use. Lower the pool water level by four inches to minimize water loss by splashing;
  • Avoid using outdoor fountains and ponds that spray above the water surface;
  • Avoid hard-surface washing of sidewalks and driveways (except for health or safety); and
  • Use a positive pressure nozzle when washing vehicles.

These guidelines are effective immediately within city boundaries.

According to the Ogden City water manager, the water surface index for the Ogden River is at 9%. The rating reflects a combination of soil moisture, snowpack, precipitation, and temperatures. For comparison purposes, an index rating of 1% would be the lowest in a 30-year-period. An index of 99% would be the highest in a 30-year-period.

Along with other cities, Ogden officials are considering a “flip the strip” program that encourages residents to get rid of the strip of grass between the sidewalks and the road and replace it with xeriscaping or more drought-resistant plants. 

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