This city’s new landscaping ordinance aims to conserve water long-term

Utah Drought

LAYTON, Utah (ABC4) – During the drought, water is more precious than ever. Cities across the state have implemented restrictions to conserve water. Other cities, like Layton, are making efforts to conserve water long-term.

“We want to enable people to make a good choice,” Layton Commercial and Economic Development Director Chad Wilkinson tells ABC4. “We want to give them the ability to use less water.”

Wilkinson explains that the city worked with Weber Basin Water Conservancy District to adopt a new landscaping ordinance in June.

“Some of our landscaping requirements were encouraging water use, and what we’re trying to do is try to provide people options that use less water,” says Wilkinson.

He explains, in the past, commercial and industrial developments had to have at least 35% of their grounds be covered with turf grass. This is no longer the case. For new developments, the city now restricts grass to 15% of the property.

Establishments like apartment complexes will be allowed to have up to 35% of the property to be covered in grass to allow for recreation areas.

The city will not make already existing establishments change their landscaping, unless they undergo large renovation projects.

The water conservancy district says adopting these types of ordinances is a huge step toward cities saving water.

“We’re seeing a savings of 80,000-acre feet a year,” Weber Basin Water Conservancy District Assistant General Manager John Parry tells ABC4. He continues “And so, there is substantial amounts of water to be saved as we roll out these more efficient applications of water.”

For homeowners in Layton, the city now allows for more freedom in their landscaping.

“It’s not a requirement for them to do waterwise landscaping, but we’ve lifted any type of restriction on them,” Wilkinson adds.

While there are no requirements for homeowners to implement waterwise landscaping, the city is encouraging people to take part in the water conservancy district’s Flip Your Strip rebate program by replacing their park strip turf.

“You’re probably going to save anywhere from 7,000 to 10,000 gallons (yearly),” states Parry.

Parry says flipping your strip is one of the easiest ways homeowners can conserve water. He tells ABC4 that is the first change the district tells homeowners about because park strips are hard to water efficiently. From there, he says there are lots of changes homeowners can make if they want.

He adds, “If you’ve got grass areas that aren’t being used for anything but mowing and watering, maybe we can do something different there with drip irrigation, and bushes, and plants, and trees, and things to have more sustainable landscapes.”

Parry says Weber Basin Water Conservancy District is working with a handful of other cities in Northern Utah right now that are looking to make similar changes to their landscape ordinances in the near future.

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