Voluntary water restrictions proving to work in Layton

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LAYTON, Utah (ABC4) – Despite being in the middle of a historic drought, residents in Layton City have saved millions of gallons of water in comparison to last year. In total, residents have saved roughly 77 million gallons over a three-month period.

“With the cooperation we’ve had, we don’t think we need to impose any mandatory restrictions,” Layton City Public Information Officer Steve Garside tells ABC4.

Layton City officials say residents have been diligently following voluntary water restrictions over the last few months.

“We’re finding that as more people become educated and they cooperate and participate, that we’re confident that the savings will continue,” Garside states.

In March, city leaders started asking residents to limit watering the lawn to twice a week, avoid watering between 10 a.m. and 6 p.m., and limit unnecessary water use inside their homes.

“It didn’t surprise us in the response from our citizens,” says Layton City Engineer Steve Jackson. “They’re really great at responding. A real community effort was made.”

City engineers, like Jackson, track culinary water use city-wide. While he says they weren’t surprised with how residents responded to the new restrictions, he says they were surprised when they learned just how well residents did at conserving water.

When comparing water usage in April and May 2021 to the same two months in 2020, Jackson says they found that “water usage was actually down substantially. About 95 million gallons of water was saved.”

As the heatwave hit Utah in June, Jackson tells ABC4 that the city believed water usage would increase from the past year based on an evapotranspiration formula.

He explains the formula contemplates several factors regarding the water needs of plant life based on the overall weather conditions, including temperature.

He says after taking all those factors into consideration, engineers expected the increase in water use in June 2021 to be around 86.4 million gallons over last year.

However, Layton City’s residents were judicious in their watering, and great strides were made in conserving water. At the end of June, Jackson says residents used just 17.5 million gallons more than the previous year.

This means even with the increase in June, residents have still saved 77 million gallons this year during the three full months they’ve been asked to conserve.

While he is pleased with the residents’ response, Jackson reminds everyone in Layton that “it’s definitely not time to let off.”

City leaders say even with the savings, irrigation water will most likely be turned off early to help save water for next year.

“We want to say thank you, very much, for the cooperation we’ve had thus far,” states Garside.

Layton officials tell ABC4 while most city parks are looking brown this summer, Layton Commons Park is still green. It is being prioritized during the drought due to the many attractions it offers residents. Officials say they want to have a place for residents to enjoy while other areas are being allowed to go dormant during the drought.

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