‘Just don’t have the water available’: Lehi adopts lawn watering restrictions

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HESPERIA, CA – JULY 28: Sprinklers water the lawns of a new housing development July 28, 2005 in Hesperia, California. California’s demand for water will jump by 40 percent over the next 25 years according to a study released this week by the Public Policy Institute of California. Half of all the water used by inland homeowners, where growth is booming, goes to irrigating yards, compared to one third or less in the cooler coastal regions. (Photo by David McNew/Getty Images)

LEHI, Utah (ABC4) – Lehi City is implementing phase two of it’s water restriction plan in response to Utah’s severe drought and is planning to enforce restrictions with fines for repeat offenders.

According to the city’s website, phase two “requires that there shall be no watering of outside areas at any individual owner on consecutive days. This means that watering shall occur at most every other day.”

“… if you start your cycle on one day, you need to wait 48 hours before you start your watering cycle again,” Dave Norman, Lehi City’s public works director, tells ABC4.

“That’s kind of the minimum time period between the two. We’re asking people to water at most three days a week, with what we’re hoping is a strong recommendation to only water two days a week,” he adds.

The water restriction, which went into effect last Friday, is unique for Lehi, but not for other areas in the state. Other cities have similar requirements already built into their code, Norman shares.

Though Norman says the city plans to educate people first if they see water violations, officials do plan to enforce the restrictions with a fine if violations continue. The fine would be up to $100 if violations continue, and after that could go up to $500, he says.

What prompted Lehi officials to put the restriction in place? The city’s water suppliers and river commissioners shared some bad news.

“We’re seeing that we are only going to get around 65% to 70% of our normal water that we would get in a normal year, and so we know if people water like they do every other year in the last three to four years, that we will eventually run out of water this season.”

Utah Governor Spencer Cox issued a state of emergency in March due to drought in the state. Norman says he would prefer that people cut back now, so there isn’t a need to have watering restrictions in August during the hottest part of the summer.

“Utah is one of the driest states in the nation, and although we love our turf grass, it just uses a lot of water. Every time someone waters their lawn, it uses between three and four thousand gallons of water,” he explains.

If you drive up past the reservoir, you can see that they are already at a lower level this time of year than we see oftentimes in the middle or late summer, Norman says. “We just don’t have the water available this year because we had a really bad winter.”

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