With the drought still severe, Utah water restrictions are coming
SALT LAKE CITY — Yes, you just shoveled your driveway out from under a thick, wet blanket of fresh snow. But soon you will be planting a new lawn and watering it every day. Hold your water, says one major Utah water district: the West’s historic drought is still here and still severe, and there will be some Utah water restrictions.
Scott Paxman, general manager and CEO of Weber Water Basin, said if conditions remain the same over the next two months customers should delay watering their lawns until mid-May and don’t plant new lawns or landscapes this year. Also, customers are limited to one day a week for watering lawns and gardens, which is 20 minutes for pop-up sprays and 40 minutes for rotor sprinklers. Don’t even think about hosing off driveways or sidewalks. Read about all the Weber Water Basin water here.
Paxman joined KSL NewsRadio’s Debbie Dujanovic and guest host Taylor Morgan to talk about drought and watering restrictions during spring and summer.
Paxman said the snowpack that feeds the Weber Water Basin jumped to 130% in December, then shut off, dropped to 67%, but rebounded with recent snowstorms to 77%.
Read the latest condition on Utah Snowpack Totals.
Don’t turn on the hose until middle of May
“We’re hoping to have more water, of course, from the snow melt in the spring runoff to allow us to have at least one watering per week — that’s how dire it is,” he said. “For the most part on a typical year, we don’t see a large need for irrigation until the first of May or even just a little later.”
“You said we’re hoping to allow people to water once a week. Is there a chance that you will not allow people to water the grass at all?” Debbie asked.
“Well, that’s what we were looking at a few weeks ago when we were trying to forecast what was available. I don’t think that’s the case. I think we’re very confident that we’ll be able to allow watering once a week,” said Paxman, adding with spring rains, perhaps twice a week during the hottest stretch of summer. “But we just don’t know at this point.”
No new lawns this season
“I also see as a potential new restriction, no new landscapes. What does that mean?” Taylor asked.
“Well, it’s tough to get a new landscape or new lawn to become established with one watering per week,” Paxman said. “We don’t want you to plant a lawn and then have it die within a month.”
Debbie asked if the Weber Basin Water District’s 700,000 customers in Summit, Box Elder, Weber, Morgan and Davis counties are up in arms and ready to revolt.
“We’ve had a few calls,” Paxman said.
“There’s not much you can do if Mother Nature won’t cooperate,” Debbie said.
“Those who live up by a reservoir, they absolutely understand,” he replied. “If you go drive by Pineview, Echo, Wanship [reservoirs], you can see what we’re facing. So for the most part, our residences totally understand,” Paxman said.
Dave & Dujanovic can be heard weekdays from 9 a.m. to noon. on KSL NewsRadio. Users can find the show on the KSL NewsRadio website and app, as well as Apple Podcasts and Google Play.