WEST JORDAN, Utah (ABC4) — Salt Lake County Mayor Jenny Wilson announced on Thursday that $1.1 million in turf conversion grants will be awarded to seven cities across the Salt Lake Valley.

These grants, funded by the American Rescue Plan, will go toward 21 approved projects across seven cities to support converting grass on municipal properties to turf in an effort to save water.

“This is a visionary program and we’re helping cities who are already doing great things in working with their residents to be water-wise and eliminate some of the grass throughout our county,” said Salt Lake County Mayor Jenny Wilson. “Water conservation is not one city’s duty, not one county’s duty, it’s not one household’s duty – we will make a difference by making the change together.”

Though it seems strange to speak about the drought while the state is under a flood emergency, Wilson says it remains an issue for most areas in the Salt Lake Valley. As of Thursday, about 62% of Utah is “abnormally dry”, including most of Salt Lake County, while another 19% of the state is under the “moderate drought” category, according to the U.S. Drought Monitor.

The seven cities that received those grants include:

  • Bluffdale
  • Riverton
  • Sandy
  • South Jordan
  • Taylorsville
  • West Jordan
  • West Valley City

The 21 projects are expected to remove 412,000 square feet of grass, which would reportedly save 9 million gallons of water annually.

“We are leading by example, so we are flipping the strip at our own City Hall,” said Taylorsville Mayor Kristie Overson. “Water is so important but it isn’t handled the same in every city, so we’re excited to be able to individualize this and do what works in our city.”

These grants were the results of a collaboration between Salt Lake County, Jordan Valley Water Conservancy District, and the Utah League of Cities and Towns to conserve water.