UTAH DROUGHT

‘Whiplash weather’: Salt Lake County issues turf replacement grants to 7 cities to conserve water

Apr 28, 2023, 7:04 AM | Updated: 7:11 am

Salt Lake County Mayor Jenny Wilson speaks after announcing grants for the conversion of grass fiel...

Salt Lake County Mayor Jenny Wilson speaks after announcing grants for the conversion of grass fields into water-wise landscaping at the West Jordan City Hall on Thursday. (Ryan Sun, Deseret News)

(Ryan Sun, Deseret News)

WEST JORDAN — Salt Lake County Mayor Jenny Wilson announced more than $1 million in grants to several cities to help convert grass to more water-efficient landscaping.

Wilson was joined by several mayors and city officials at the West Jordan City Hall on Thursday, where she expressed the need for continued conservation efforts, even as Utah’s record snowpack has lessened the effects of drought this year.

“It’s hard to believe we are in a declared flood emergency and we’re here to talk about drought,” she said. “But indeed, our drought challenges are ongoing. I call it whiplash weather. We had an amazing year … but we know that our Great Salt Lake is suffering.”

Shovel in hand, West Jordan Mayor Dick Burton joined Wilson and officials from neighboring cities to break ground on a conversion project in the parking lot in front of City Hall. He said the city hopes to be an example to residents to “flip their strips,” by converting park strips and other nonessential grass.

Burton said the grants will help West Jordan continue the work they’ve already begun.

“With all the (water) we got this past year, everybody’s thinking we’re out of the problem,” he said. “We’re not, but we will be if we don’t keep using water. We use it and nature replenishes it. We can’t control nature’s schedule, but we can control the schedule of when we use it, and that’s where we have the power to make a difference.”

He acknowledged that residents across his city — and the state — have already taken it upon themselves to convert their landscaping to save water.

“Thank you so much for what you’ve done. You’ve done a fantastic job,” he said. “We asked you to conserve, and you stepped forward and you did it.”

“None of us can do this alone,” Wilson said. “Governments, businesses and families all need to do their share.”

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‘Whiplash weather’: Salt Lake County issues turf replacement grants to 7 cities to conserve water