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Water restrictions in place, conservation urged

Article Date: 
18 January, 2012 - 20:14

It may be nearing the end of the outdoor watering season, but several water companies have asked for voluntary restrictions in the name of conservation.
The Weber Basin Water Conservancy District, which provides culinary water to many Morgan County residents, formally asked Monday for “voluntary, substantial reductions in water usage for outdoor applications.”  The request applies to its customers in Davis, Weber, Morgan, Summit, and Box Elder counties.
The Mountain Green Secondary Water Company has asked its 160 customers in the Cottonwoods, Coventry Cove and Rollins Ranch subdivisions in Mountain Green to water every other day. Times have been assigned to certain addresses as well.
“The restrictions were instituted because of the drought year and low run off as well as other upstream users who have utilizing more water,” said Skyler Gardner.
The Highland Water Company has initiated watering schedules based on customers’ addresses.  
Weber Basin hasn’t asked for assigned watering schedules, other than requesting customers water twice per week between 6 p.m. and 10 a.m.  Officials also suggest correcting sprinkler system deficiencies and setting mower heights to at least 2 inches.
Keeping the grass green surround Mountain Green Elementary School hasn’t been easy this year, said D’Lynn Poll, school district business administrator. Since its Mountain Green Secondary Water lines haven’t had enough pressure, they have had to use culinary water to keep lawns green.  Water officials promised to not charge the district for using culinary water instead of secondary, Poll said.  
She said a recent injunction shows there is some progress being made in developing the rest of the water system in the area. 
The Cottonwood Park, a county park in Mountain Green, is watering every other day along with other residents in the area, said Morgan County Councilwoman Ronda Kippen.  All other county parks operate using wells dedicated to providing irrigation water.  
**Water year in review
At the start of this year’s irrigation season, reservoirs were in full condition due to an extraordinarily wet 2011 year despite the “anomaly” of an extremely dry 2011/2012 winter, according to a statement prepared by Tage Flint, general manager of Weber Basin Water Conservancy District.
“The low snow pack translated to very low runoff during the 2012 spring and summer,” Flint said.  “Dry and hot weather persisted throughout this summer, resulting in much higher than normal water usage.”
He said that the irrigation companies relying heavily on natural river flows are either out of water, or soon will be.  But Weber Basin has “sufficient storage to sustain its customers throughout the remainder of the irrigation season,” Flint said.
Weber Basin officials are still asking for conservation.
“It is uncertain what type of precipitation we will receive this winter,” Flint said.  “In preparation for next year, it is prudent that we begin reducing usage for outdoor irrigation and saving as much of our existing supplies as possible.”
Flint said that temperatures and day length are both declining, “which means that landscapes do not need the same water volumes as they did in the mid-summer months.”
He said plant and landscape watering requirements are now 60 percent of those in the month of July, and therefore watering should be reduced by at least 40 percent from mid-summer applications.
No restrictions
The call for conservation hasn’t touched all county water users.
For the 29 homes and 98 people part of the Monte Verde Water Association in Mountain Green, no restrictions are in place for their culinary water use. Culinary water users served by the Cottonwood Mutual Water Company are likewise not under any restrictions.
“We have been very fortunate in not having to implement watering restrictions this year,” said Mike Johanson, manager of Cottonwood Mutual Water Company. “We have been able to meet the demand placed upon our system from the hot, dry summer.”
The Kent Smith Park in Mountain Green has its own well separate from the Highlands Water Company, Kippen said.  She is keeping a close eye on other county parks.  In Enterprise, the park’s well has run dry because “the water is so extremely low,” she said.
With 1,200 service connections, the culinary water system in Morgan City is operating fine without restrictions, said Jaime Grandpre, senior operator for the city’s water and sewer department.  In his five years on the job, he has not seen the need for any restrictions.
Gene Carter, of Morgan Secondary Water, said he doesn’t plan on restrictions for his 625 customers as the water season winds down.  Oct. 15 will mark the official end of that secondary water system.
With or without restrictions, Flint said it is always a good idea to conserve water.
“Water conservation is a good idea every year,” he said.  “With a below average amount in storage and an unknown water year coming, it is more than prudent to exercise extreme care in consumption of this valuable natural resource for the remainder of the year.”
For water conserving ideas, go to www.slowtheflow.org.