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Salt Lake Mayor urges water conservation as Utah sees drought conditions

Graphic via Updated 03/23/21.

SALT LAKE CITY — Salt Lake City Mayor Erin Mendenhall is urging residents to start conserving water ahead of what is expected to be a drought-filled and dry summer in Utah.

Mendenhall activated the first of five stages of the city’s “Water Contingency Plan” that informs residents it’s time to start conserving water.

Last week, Gov. Spencer Cox issued a state of emergency in response to 90% of Utah being in extreme drought conditions.

Over the winter, Utah saw only about 70% of its expected normal snowpack. That coupled with an extremely dry summer in 2020 has left arid conditions in Utah.

Mendenhall said Salt Lake has experienced conditions like this before, but this time around, the soil is much dryer than normal. 

“Extremely dry soils mean that when we do receive precipitation, the ground will soak it up first and reduce the runoff that typically fills reservoirs, lakes and streams,” said Brian Steed, executive director of the Utah Department of Natural Resources.

National Weather Service says Utah storms this week won’t dent drought much

“We wanted to make sure to get out ahead of that as early as possible,” Mendenhall said on Wednesday.

The city has been implementing measures to try and conserve water, according to Mendenhall, such as checking on irrigation systems and using water from the pond at Liberty Park to water the lawn.

The state’s Department of Natural Resources suggests a few measures everyone can take to help conserve water, like: 

  • Fix leaks
  • Run full loads (dishwashers and washing machines)
  • Turn off the water while brushing teeth, shaving, soaping up, doing dishes or rinsing vegetables
  • Reduce showers by at least one minute
  • Wait to water
  • Plan now for the irrigation season and consider implementing water-wise landscaping or purchasing a smart irrigation controller

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