UTAH (ABC4) – As Utah’s housing market continues to boom while the drought continues to get worse, Utahns are being asked to delay putting in new landscaping. In particular, turf in the form of sod and grass seed.   

“I think it’s important to understand the situation that we’re in,” Pineview Water Systems General Manager Ben Quick told ABC4. “This is eight out of 10 years of drought conditions.”   

According to the National Integrated Drought Information System (NIDIS), 2022 (to date) is the fourth driest year in Utah over the last 128 years. In that same time period, this past March was the 32nd driest. According to NIDIS, the drought affects 2.8 million people in the Beehive State. 

“Currently, about 100 percent of the state is currently suffering from severe drought or worse,” Quick stated. At this time, all Utahns are encouraged to delay putting in new landscaping. Particularly turf in the form of sod and grass seed. This, Quick explained, is because new grass needs an incredible amount of water before it becomes well established, and therefore, drought-resistant. He added, “Grass seed takes substantially more water than just keeping established turf alive, and this is a year where we don’t have enough water to use substantially more on anything.”  

Water providers do say those who need to plant turf should wait until about September. The cooler temperatures and late summer storms often help reduce the volume of water needed to successfully grow new grass.

Many cities across Utah require homes and businesses to maintain a specific amount of turf on their property. However, during the drought, many of these cities are putting those requirements on hold. During this spring and summer, water providers (and cities like Ogden) are asking for properties with new construction to follow this guidance as well. 

Ogden City Water Utilities Manager Brady Herd added, “As a state, we’ve just kind of gravitated that way towards turf and sod in a sense because it’s easier and it does help some of the curb appeal. However, we also just need to remind ourselves that we are in a drier state in comparison to the rest of the nation.”  

Many cities in northern Utah, like Layton, have responded to the drought and updated city codes to limit the amount of turf allowed on multi-family and commercial properties.   

“It’s also an opportunity to look at, you know, are there areas in your yard where you’re just not using the grass where something more drought resilient can come and be a part of your landscape and still provide that aesthetics appeal, that curb appeal, that everybody is looking for,” stated Weber Basin Water Conservancy District Assistant General Manager Jon Parry.