New “Drought Watering Guide” replaces traditional guide

Published 06-11-21

Extreme drought continues to plague the state, so the Utah Division of Water Resources has replaced its traditional lawn watering guide with an “Extreme Drought Watering Guide” to reflect drought actions. The “Drought Watering Guide” replaces the popular Weekly Lawn Watering Guide (we hope temporarily) and focuses on “survival watering.” While extreme drought conditions exist, the guide will focus on minimal watering to keep grass alive: two times a week in northern Utah and three times a week in southern Utah. 

With 60% of residential water use applied to outdoor landscapes, Utahns are asked to look for ways to reduce their use. Eliminating just one watering can save about 3,000 gallons for the average quarter-acre Utah yard. More drought actions and water-saving tips can be found at slowtheflow.org 

Using water efficiently is always the best practice and saves money. But during extreme drought, it’s critical to help stretch the water supply. 

Hall of Fame or Shame water use reporting tool

Published 06-09-21

Compliments? Or complaints? The Hall of Fame or Shame was created in 2017 in response to requests from the public for a reporting tool to shine the spotlight on waterwise behavior – as well as point out water waste. The fame option allows citizens to report their own or another’s great waterwise behavior, which we use to give kudos on our Facebook page and share good ideas others can learn from.

The Division forwards waste reports to the local water provider to make them aware of the issue. The goal of the program is to save water and raise awareness of actions that are wasteful and also efficient water use. How the complaint is handled varies from area to area, but is best handled on a local level. Complaints are not released to the general public.

Utah is in EXTREME DROUGHT. We don’t know how long this drought will last. That’s out of our control. But what is in our control is how we respond, and what we do as individuals, families, businesses, institutions and industries to reduce our use anywhere we can. Pointing fingers does nothing to save water. If you see water waste report it,  and we’ll forward it to the local water provider for follow-up action. Water saved today means we will have more tomorrow.

Gov. Cox announces third drought Executive Order, fireworks ban on state lands

Published 06-09-21

SALT LAKE CITY (June 8, 2021) – Utah Gov. Spencer J. Cox issued another executive order further restricting water use at state facilities. He also announced a prohibition on fireworks for all state and unincorporated lands.

“All indicators show this could be the worst drought year on record,” Gov. Cox said. “Utah state government is leading the way by cutting back on water use at all state facilities, but all of us — from private businesses to local governments to individuals — need to conserve water now more than ever.” 

Cox announced Executive Order 2021-10, which requires lawn watering at some state facilities to be reduced to two days per week. A previous order allowed three days per week.

He also announced that the State Forester and the Division of Forestry, Fire and State Lands issued an order banning fireworks on all state and unincorporated private lands. This order is effective today. The same goes for SITLA lands: No fireworks will be allowed on SITLA lands this summer.

Cox was joined by Utah Department of Agriculture and Food Commissioner Craig Buttars, who described the effect the extreme drought is having on agribusiness, and Deputy Director for Division of Water Resources Candice Hasenyager, who discussed the impact on the state’s waterways. Also attending were Lt. Gov. Deidre Henderson, Jamie Barnes, interim director of Forestry, Fire and State Lands, and Jeff Rassmussen, director of the Division of Parks and Recreation.

Executive Order

Utah Colorado River Commissioner statement on Lake Powell elevation forecast

Published 05-20-21

The Bureau of Reclamation’s May 24-Month Study forecast of Lake Powell elevations, while not surprising, is certainly concerning for all water users in the Colorado River Basin. The Upper Colorado River Commission, which includes Utah along with Wyoming, Colorado, and New Mexico is working closely with the Bureau of Reclamation on a drought response plan that could adjust operations at Lake Powell and upstream reservoirs to keep Lake Powell from dropping below critical levels.  

Maintaining Lake Powell elevations at or above 3,525 feet helps to preserve hydropower production at Glen Canyon Dam. Drought response planning is a critical component of Colorado River management, including the operations at Lake Powell and Lake Mead. – Gene Shawcroft, Utah Colorado River Commissioner

For more information, read the Upper Colorado River Commission press release.

Weekly lawn watering guide moves to new site

Published 05-07-21

The Utah Division of Water Resources has launched a new water conservation website. Our popular weekly lawn watering guide can be found from the main menu of the new site and now lives on this page: https://conservewater.utah.gov/weekly-lawn-watering-guide/

If you’ve been automatically linking to the old site, please update your link. We have temporarily created some redirects to help ensure your current links are not broken, but you will want to be sure you are pointing directly to our current page and/or embedded image. If you haven’t been linking to it, we invite you to consider it! It’s a great tool that, if followed, will help stretch the water supply. 

About the Guide 
Did you know that eliminating one watering saves about 3,000 gallons for the average quarter-acre yard! To customize watering for your area, the Division of Water Resources publishes a Weekly Lawn Watering Guide on our Facebook page and online that recommends watering based on weather patterns and evapotranspiration rates in each county. The guide takes extensive data and simplifies it into how many days to water each week. (Microclimates may require adjustments to your watering schedule.)

With all of the state in drought, watering efficiently is more critical than ever. Follow the guide to save water – and money – and avoid the problems that can accompany overwatering like pests and disease. We estimate that Utah could save more than 20 billion gallons of water every summer if everyone were to water according to the guide! Also, make sure your sprinklers are property adjusted to water plants, not pavement. Do your part to Slow The Flow.

Using water wisely is always recommended, but with 100% of the state experiencing drought, it’s critical. Thank you for helping raise awareness of this precious resource! 

Gov. Cox orders water conservation at state facilities

Published 05-03-21

In response to ongoing concerns about extremely dry conditions, Gov. Spencer J. Cox issued an executive order forbidding irrigation at state facilities between 10 a.m. and 6 p.m., requiring that sprinklers are shut off during rain storms and making sure landscape watering systems are operating efficiently.

Executive Order 2021-10 also encourages local governments to implement similar water restrictions on public landscaping, urges irrigation companies to delay the start of the irrigation season and asks all Utahns to reduce water use by taking shorter showers, converting turf to waterwise landscaping and replacing appliances with water-efficient models.

“Last year, Utah experienced one of the driest and hottest years on record and we anticipate another tough drought year ahead,” Gov. Cox said. “State government is committed to doing its part to conserve water and we encourage all Utahns to use this most precious resource wisely and sparingly.”

Executive Order 2021-10 is effective immediately

Gov. Cox issues drought executive order

Published 03-17-21

With 100% in the moderate drought category and 90% of the state experiencing extreme drought, today Gov. Spencer J. Cox issued an Executive Order declaring a state of emergency due to drought conditions. This declaration allows drought-affected communities, agricultural producers and others to officially begin the process that may provide access to state or federal emergency resources.

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Bear Lake could store additional water if operations changed

Published 12-22-20

Can more water be stored in Bear Lake by adjusting flood control operations? Idaho, Utah and PacifiCorp worked with reservoir modeling experts at the University of Colorado to answer this question. The technical report “Impacts on Bear Lake Storage under Alternative High-Runoff Management Operations” published today, summarizes findings about how different flood control operations can raise lake levels and increase storage.

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Latest water use numbers posted to revamped Open Water Data website

Published 12-21-20

The state’s latest water use numbers have been published by the Utah Division of Water Resources and can be found on the recently overhauled and upgraded Open Water Data website. 

The latest municipal and industrial (M&I) numbers are from 2019 and show that statewide per capita water use for potable and secondary water is 223 gallons per capita per day (GPCD).  In 2018, the total GPCD was 241 (2017 – 244 and 2016 – 245). M&I includes residential, commercial, institutional (for example, schools and parks), and industrial water use.

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