BY TOM BUSSELBERG
BOUNTIFUL – As hot and dry weather conditions persist, water levels continue to drop and water and energy conservation measures are being encouraged.
Margaret Ohler of Rocky Mountain Power recommends keeping your thermostat at 78 degrees or higher, depending on your comfort level. She also urges minimizing use of heat-producing appliances in the middle of the day, or 2 to 8 p.m.
More than half of electricity use in the average home goes to cool things, whether in the refrigerator/freezer or for air conditioning, Ohler said. The utility’s summer rates are currently in effect. Users can glean tips on energy efficiency by checking the “watt smart” website at wattsmart.com.
As far as outside water usage, Weber Basin Water Conservancy District’s Scott Paxman said “we’ve seen a reduction.”
The assistant general manager said that every evening that’s had a thunderstorm has brought a reduction in watering.
“It delays the demand for a few hours and then it picks back up,” he said. “Hot weather and wind, when we get it, really dries things up quickly.”
Water levels in the district’s reservoirs are still declining, he said. “We’re probably averaging about 50 percent of our storage capacity. Typically we shoot for that level at the end of the water year,” or in mid-October.
That means storage levels should be “significantly lower than what we typically like.”
As previously announced, Paxman said secondary/outside water delivery will stop about Oct. 1, or two weeks earlier than normal.
“We’re really looking toward next year, trying to figure out how much water we might get,” he said.
Users are proving to be conservation-minded, as 8,000 acre feet of water less was used in May and June compared to last year, which also was a dry year. An acre foot is about the amount of water an average household uses in a year.
That said, “plenty of warnings” have been given out by the district to those who are either watering in the 10 a.m. to 6 p.m. no-watering period or wasting water in other ways, Paxman said.
“Mostly neighbors are calling on neighbors. That’s probably the best police force we have,” he said.
The district tries to respond to every complaint, providing education on water-conservation measures that will still allow landscapes to look good, Paxman said.
Meanwhile, through at least the end of the summer, weather forecasts are indicating a continued dryer and warmer summer.