Utah officials are optimistic about the water situation this year

Oct 13, 2023, 2:00 PM

Kim Eden, with Eden’s Garden Design, plants water-wise plants in a park strip in Herriman....

Kim Eden, with Eden’s Garden Design, plants water-wise plants in a park strip in Herriman on Tuesday, Sept. 21, 2021, during the launch of “Flip Blitz,” a landscape diversification and water conservation program from the Utah Division of Water Resources. The program, which changes out grassy park strips with water-wise plants, intends to save between 5,000 and 8,000 gallons of water at each of the park strips annually. (Shafkat Anowar, Deseret News)

(Shafkat Anowar, Deseret News)

SALT LAKE CITY — Just a couple of weeks into the new water year in Utah, state water watchers are optimistic about Utah’s situation.

The new water year started on Oct. 1 and the Division of Water Resources said we are at 136% of the normal water level. For that, they give credit to the record-breaking snowfall we received.

They also reported only 7% of Utah is in the moderate drought category, which is a tremendous improvement from a year ago when 95% of the state was in severe drought. Officials are cautiously optimistic and said they are crossing their fingers we have another stellar snowpack this year.

Conservation is still key

However, state officials say we still need to do more to conserve our water. The Department of Natural Resources has some tips to save water at “Slow the Flow.”

The site encourages Utahns to look for possible leaks in their homes, such as a “leaky faucet (that) can waste thousands of gallons of water and add costs to your bill.”

Other suggestions on the site have to do with Utahn’s backyards. Avoiding overwatering can prevent nutrients from washing away. Getting rid of weeds will free up water for other plants. Adjusting lawnmowers to a higher setting so grass grows higher can also help.

And because deeper roots mean higher drought tolerance, officials recommend Utahns practice deep and infrequent watering.

Utahns can also add a two- to four-inch layer of mulch. According to the Slow the Flow site, that can reduce the speed at which water evaporates by as much as 50%. 

A final suggestion involves your dog! Slow the Flow recommends that you wash your dog near flowers or part of the yard that needs watering. 

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Utah officials are optimistic about the water situation this year