by Lana MEDINA
After a dry winter, local water officials are advising residents in Davis County to cut back on watering their yards.
“We typically survive on natural stream flows through April, May and part of June, and we start releasing out of reservoirs for supplemental water flow for June and July,” explained Scott Paxman, Assistant General Manager for Weber Conservancy District. “But this year we started releasing out of the reservoirs in the first of May – at least a month earlier than usual.”
It’s not just Davis County though – officials are working together on a statewide initiative aimed to curb overuse of water: Slow the Flow.
During a one-year period, 65 percent of the average homeowner’s use of water is targeted on their landscape, Paxman said. The average homeowner only uses water on their landscape for six months out of the year, but their water use during that shorter period is still higher than the rest of their water needs during the year.
“On the average, at least for residents in Davis and Weber Counties, residents are using double what they need on their yards,” Paxman said.
The statewide conservation campaign is designed to educate residents and also to encourage other suggestions in residents’ landscapes, including using less grass in their yards.
Matt Hamilton, a North Salt Lake homeowner, is trying to make a difference. He recently removed all the grass on his park strip.
“That takes out an hour of watering time for the park strip, especially ours because we’re on a corner lot,” he explained.
Paxman says the average resident waters their yard several times a week, when in reality he says grass only needs water a couple times a week.
“If you put a half inch of water down, that should last you for at least 2 or 3 days. We try to get people to not water more than once every other day,” Paxman said.
Besides education, the state has resources designed to suggest different types of landscapes to residents that use less water.
Dave Rice, conservation coordinator for Weber Conservancy District, says they offer monthly classes to give residents examples to cut back on sod grass: Localscapes.com
“There’s a lot of excitement and enthusiasm about making changes. Most people don’t want to change everything out, but people want to change their park strip,” Rice said.
The Hamiltons are trying to look for other ways to reduce their water use too.
“Our population around here (in North Salt Lake), it feels like it’s doubled since we moved here and everyone puts in grass. Our population grows but we’re not getting anymore water,” Matt Hamilton said.
“You hear so much about how we don’t have enough water right now and it’s scary to know we’re using up our water resources,” Heather Hamilton added.
For more information about Slow the Flow and how much water the average residents needs for their yard, visit http://slowtheflow.org/.