This story is part of our Be Water Wise series. Each week we will be educating Utahns on water usage and conservation. Special thanks to The Jordan Valley Water Conservancy District and Cynthia Bee for helping coordinate information.
SALT LAKE CITY (ABC4) — Local city governments are jumping on the proverbial lawnmower to take part in Water Wise conservation efforts.
Most Utahns know they can apply for state incentive programs for making their lawns Water Wise, but local municipalities are hoping to lead by example to show residents the benefits and the ease at which the changes can be made.
City governments all around the Salt Lake Valley have applied for and are expecting incentives for projects that are currently underway or completed. Bluffdale, Herriman, Riverton, Sandy, South Jordan, and Taylorsville are all leading out in their efforts.
Just as most homeowners make landscape changes one project at a time, property managers are working on changes on a site-by-site basis for commercial, industrial, institutional, and public spaces. Some cities have chosen multiple projects while others have only a couple of projects currently happening.
“We are excited and willing to upgrade our city-owned properties but, like all cities, face very real challenges of limited staff and budgets,” said Taylorsville Mayor Kristie Overson. “The Municipal Partnership Program has enabled us to step up our efforts by reducing the city-funded portion of the cost.”
The first round of projects started in early 2023. The cities applied for funding to convert “non-functional lawns” on 22 different public properties to water-efficient landscaping.
Upgrading landscaping at City Hall has been a popular project for municipalities. Residents in Taylorsville, South Jordan, Herriman, West Jordan, and West Valley can visit their City Hall to see the outcome of some of these projects.
“We want to be part of the water-wise solution,” said South Jordan City Manager Dustin Lewis. “We’ve made a long-term commitment to being a leader in the way people can conserve water, and transforming the landscaping around City Hall is one of many steps we are taking as we move forward.”
When all projects in Phase 1 are done, 787,927 square feet of non-functional lawn will have been removed from the 22 sites and the cities will receive over $1.5 million in incentives. While those dollar amounts cover a substantial amount of the project costs, the cities have still covered portions of the costs as well.
Not all cities in Salt Lake County were ready with project plans for the first phase of funding and many of them will be applying for those incentives during the second phase. Phase 2 will begin taking applications over the coming months.
Cities in Salt Lake County interested in applying for incentives are encouraged to reach out to the Jordan Valley Water Conservancy District at firstname.lastname@example.org.
“Changing our landscapes, water use, and management habits is difficult,” said Mayor Overson. “That’s true for individuals, property managers, and public agencies but we recognize, too, that we’re each obligated to be as efficient as possible with shared public resources.”