Layton officials plan for future water conservation as drought continues in Utah

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LAYTON, Utah (ABC4) – The new water year began in October and it started off strong, but the drought continues to be stronger. While this is sad, it makes for a great opportunity for Utahns to look for ways to continue saving water in the future. This year, residents in Layton saved millions of gallons of water, and the city is already taking steps to make conservation a way of life.  

Every week, the National Water and Climate Center releases an updated SNOTEL report. This report breaks down the current snowpack levels in Utah and compares those levels to the average. The Utah Department of Water Resources simplifies that map by turning it into the SnowMoji map. Those cute faces people use in text messages are placed on top of the map to indicate which areas are doing well and which are not doing well.  

The most recent SnowMoji map posted on the Utah Division of Wildlife Resource’s Facebook page is filled with sad faces. This is because currently, most of the state’s snowpack falls below 50 percent of the 10-year median amount.   

The ongoing drought is the reason Layton City started asking its residents to voluntarily conserve water this spring. According to the city, around 60 percent of residents use culinary water to meet their outdoor watering needs because they do not have access to secondary water. The city asked people across the city to focus their conservation efforts from April through October.  

When the city asked residents to conserve water, engineers began measuring the amount of culinary water residents were saving each month. From the very beginning, residents took conservation seriously. 

“We’re more than happy,” Layton City Public Information Officer Steve Garside told ABC4. “Again, we’re grateful to our residents and we knew they would come to bat and help us out with this, and they’ve done more than we’ve even expected.”  

The secondary water season runs from April through October and is the reason the city chose those select months. In November, City Councilman Clint Morris used Twitter to announce during that time, residents cut their water consumption by more than 682 million gallons from the city’s projected water usage. He ended his post by writing: “That’s a lot of VOLUNTEER conservation. Thank you.” 

Again, residents voluntarily conserved water. The city did not implement any restrictions. Garside says the residents’ commitment “has made a dramatic and impressive difference.” In comparison to last year, the city told ABC4 that residents reduced their water consumption by 17.9 percent in 2021.

Going back to the sad SnowMoji map, the Utah Division of Water Resources, says while the current state of the drought is disappointing, it’s also a good reminder that Utahns can continue finding ways to conserve water. 

A statement from UDWR reads: “Now this doesn’t mean that we should lose hope. There is still a long winter ahead of us, giving everyone time to plan for landscape and water efficiency upgrades. As you’re making the plans, make sure to check out UtahWaterSavers.Org for the rebates in your area. Saving money is never a disappointment.” 

Layton City is taking that advice. In June, the city council passed an ordinance restricting the amount of turf grass on commercial properties while lifting former restrictions that limited water-wise landscaping on residential properties.   

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