Cities across Northern Utah rally together to help conserve water

Northern Utah News

TULARE, CA – FEBRUARY 10: Barley sprouts from Simply Country fodder growing trays are exhibited on opening day of the World Ag Expo on February 10, 2015 in Tulare, California. As California moves into its fourth year of historic drought that caused farmers to leave hundreds of thousands of acres of cropland fallow last year, forced some well water-dependent communities to go dry, stressed wildlife and heightened political tensions surrounding water issues, farmers are attending the largest ever World Ag Expo. The expo is the biggest of its kind, attracting an estimated 100,000 visitors from 70 countries to view cutting-edge agricultural technology and equipment at 1,500 exhibits spread across a 2.6 million-square-foot of exhibit area. It is held in one of the most important food producing areas of the nation. (Photo by David McNew/Getty Images)

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NORTH UTAH COUNTY, Utah (ABC4) – Five cities across northern Utah County have teamed up to ask residents and businesses to help conserve water.

To do this, officials are asking residents and businesses to delay watering their lawns until May 1. The cities included in this effort are Lehi, Highland, American Fork, Cedar Hills, and Pleasant Grove.

For many of these cities, officials say pressurized irrigation is typically made available to the public on or around April 15 every year.

This request comes after Governor Cox’s Executive Order declaring all of Utah in a state of emergency due to drought conditions.

The order states that “100% of Utah is in the moderate drought category and 90% of the state is experiencing extreme drought.”

For many of the northern Utah County cities, their pressurized irrigation water comes from water runoff from American Fork Canyon, according to officials. Once this is depleted, the cities must pump aquifer water to supplement their pressurized irrigation systems.

“With current mountain snowpack at about 50% of normal, we already know we’re working with very limited resources,” says Cedar Hills Mayor Denise Andersen. “Holding off on watering now while we have cooler spring temperatures means we’ll have that much more water when it’s needed in the late summer.”

Lehi City Mayor Mark Johnson says waiting to water can actually help lawns grow better and use less water. “If you water too early grassroots stay at the surface where they are susceptible to heat and drought,” says Johnson. “Waiting to water causes the roots to push down further into the ground, which will make them healthier and require less water all summer long.”

While pressurized irrigation will be available to use before May 1, the mayors from these five cities are asking residents and businesses to voluntarily hold off on watering.

Highland Mayor Rod Mann clarifies, “We are making pressurize irrigation available so that people with special cases can still have the water they need, such as for gardens or when laying new sod. But for the vast majority with established lawns, we are just asking you to wait a little longer.”

Officials say larger water-use groups are also committed to following this request, including all five cities, Alpine School District, and the churches for the Church of Jesus Christ of Latter-day Saints. All of these groups will be delaying watering until May 1 as well, with as few exceptions as possible.

“Fixing leaks, implementing smart metering, avoiding watering when it’s windy, and implementing water-wise landscape can all help tremendously all summer long,” says Pleasant Grove Mayor Guy Fugal.

Residents and businesses who wish to learn more water-saving tips can do so by visiting slowtheflow.org.

All five cities emphasized in a statement that these water measures are just for pressurized irrigation and do not apply to household culinary water.

American Fork Mayor Brad Frost adds, “Making the right decision now will give us more flexibility later. As neighbors sharing water from the American Fork River, we appreciate everyone’s efforts to save our springtime water for later in the summer.”

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