UTAH (ABC4) – Looking to cut your monthly water bill while also contributing to water conservation?

The passing of H.B. 242 has allocated a $250 million grant for the installation of secondary water meters for Utah residents.

Applications for providers interested in meter installation are now open from April 1 to May 15.

State officials say areas that have installed secondary meters have seen water use reduction by around 20-30%. The program is being administered by the Utah Division of Water Resources.

“Installing secondary meters yields the biggest bang for the buck when you look at the amount of water saved compared to the cost of the meters,” said Brian Steed, executive director of the Department of Natural Resources. “This commitment from the legislature will fast-track Utah’s water conservation efforts and sends a strong signal that using this precious resource wisely is critical.”

The current cost to install a meter is around $2,000, with higher costs for backyard meter installations.
DWR says the cost range to install meters statewide is around $450 million to $675 million. Officials say there are around 260,000 secondary water connections in the state with only 15% of the connections metered.

If you’re unfamiliar with how the program could benefit your household, here are some quick facts:

What is secondary water?

  • Secondary water is untreated water that does not meet EPA Safe Drinking Water requirements.
  • Generally, cities, water districts and irrigation companies deliver secondary water through separate (from drinking water) pressurized pipelines or open ditch systems for irrigation of lawns, gardens, landscapes, parks, cemeteries, golf courses and other open areas.
  • These systems provide an alternative to using high-quality drinking water for irrigation.

Why install secondary meters?

  • Secondary meters have shown great potential to reduce waste and increase irrigation efficiency.
  • Provides accurate use numbers so the water user and secondary water providers can better track water-use trends and plan accordingly.
  • Unmetered secondary irrigation connections use about 50% more water than metered connections (estimated in 2018).

Who are these grants for and how to apply:

  • Applications are available to all secondary water providers only.
  • Up to 70% of the project cost is available in grants.
  • Low-interest loan funds are available to help with the local cost-share.

“We can’t expect people to conserve if they don’t know how much they’re using,” said Candice Hasenyager, director of the Utah Division of Water Resources. “Installation of secondary meters can provide both the water provider and the water user with accurate water information so they can make informed waterwise decisions.”

To find out more about the statewide program, click here.