Water Resources “Blitzes” park strips to show Utahns how to save thousands of gallons

Published 09-21-21

SALT LAKE CITY (Sept. 20, 2021) – The Utah Division of Water Resources will convert four grassy park strips to lush but water-wise landscapes to launch “Flip Blitz,” a campaign that aims to raise awareness about how small landscape changes can make a big difference. The campaign kicks off Tuesday, Sept. 21 at 13218 S Herriman Rose Blvd, Herriman, Utah 84096 at 9 a.m.


Gov. Cox announces conservation focus areas

Published 07-29-21

At a press conference July 29, Gov. Spencer Cox was joined by water districts and St. George Mayor Michele Randall to highlight water-saving efforts underway around the state and announce conservation program expansions. Although drought conditions are discouraging, many Utahns are taking water-saving actions at their homes, businesses, communities, and industries.

Jordan Valley Water Conservancy District was the first in the state to offer rebates for turf park strip conversions with the popular “Flip Your Strip” program. Today, Central Utah Water Conservancy District and Weber Basin Water Conservancy District also launched turf removal programs designed to incentivize homeowners to remove grass that doesn’t serve an active purpose. (Visit UtahWaterSavers.com to find out about programs and rebates in your area.)

The governor announced four areas of focus he’s looking to fast-track to further advance water conservation and water planning:

  • Statewide installation of secondary water meters 
    • About one-third of residential connections use secondary or untreated water. The majority of these connections are unmetered. And you can’t manage what you don’t measure. 
    • Areas that have installed secondary meters have seen a reduction in water use by about 20-30%. Installing secondary meters yields the biggest bang for the buck when you look at the amount of water saved compared to the cost of the meters. A number of cities in Utah County are fully metered (Spanish Fork, Saratoga Springs, Mapleton and Santaquin), and Weber Basin Water Conservancy District has installed over 11,000 connections. 
    • Over the last few years, legislation has been passed to require meters on new secondary connections, and $2 million has been appropriated in matching grant funds to offset the cost of the installation (in first and second class counties). 
    • This effort must be accelerated statewide. 
  • Integrated land use and water planning  
    • As the fastest growing state in the nation, how we grow and develop today will set our water use for decades to come. 
    • Land use planning is often undertaken independently of water planning efforts, even though the two can and should inform one another. 
    • Integrating these two processes and requiring water-efficient landscape ordinances from the beginning of any development proposal is cost-effective, compared to the expense of retrofitting existing development. 
    • We are enlisting the help of local officials in adopting water efficiency standards for new development.
  • Agricultural optimization  
    • The State is facing critical long-term reliable water supply issues. The agricultural sector accounts for about 75% of the state’s total water use. So agriculture and agricultural water use need to be part of any water planning discussion. 
    • Over the last few years approximately $7.3 million has been invested in agricultural optimization for research and projects.  
    • A continued investment in agricultural optimization will help the State evaluate ways to improve agricultural water use practices, create benefits for farmers, optimize water use, and protect water quantity and quality for all uses in the system. 
  • Statewide turf buyback program    
    • Outdoor water use makes up about 60% of our municipal and industrial water use. 
    • Turf buyback programs like “Flip Your Strip” program help incentivize people to replace thirsty grass with waterwise options. 
    • These types of programs are typically offered at the local level – we’re not aware of any state that offers such a program. We want to be the first, and we are working to expand this program statewide. 
    • We need to plant grass in areas where it’s actively used rather than using grass as the default groundcover that’s only walked on when it’s mowed. 
    • Implementing a statewide rebate program will show Utah is serious about conservation and leading the way. These types of programs are also being expanded on a local level.  

As evidenced by the Conservation Garden Park, waterwise landscaping can be beautiful and help stretch the water supply. It will take all of us – individuals, institutions, industries, communities, cities, businesses – working together to fight this drought and ensure drought resiliency into the future. 

For more information, contact Kim Wells | 801-803-0336

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.

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

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.

Great Salt Lake image

Conservation critical to meet Utah’s water needs

Published 10-22-20

Conservation is critical to meet the water needs of Utah’s growing population and is a factor that can significantly postpone water development projects. 

“We’ve seen how implementing water conservation strategies can delay large-scale infrastructure projects,” said Todd Adams, director of the Utah Division of Water Resources. “When the Legislature passed the Bear River Development Act in 1991, the projected need for the water was in 2015. Thanks primarily to conservation efforts, new technology and some smaller water development projects, current projections indicate the water won’t be needed until 2045 to 2050.” 

Changes Coming to Smart Controller Rebate

Changes coming to smart irrigation controller rebate program

Published 09-15-20

Changes are coming to the Utah Division of Water Resources’ smart irrigation controller rebate program. The current program rebates 50% of the cost (up to $150) when you purchase an eligible WaterSense labeled smart controller. The program is transitioning to a fixed rebate of up to $75 beginning Nov. 1.

“Smart controller costs have come down since the program’s inception in 2018. Now you can get a great controller starting as low as $59,” said Marcie Larson, the division’s manager over water conservation and public information. “Currently the average rebate is about $66, so the new fixed-rate program that gives consumers up to $75 is a great deal and also allows more rebates to be awarded. The current rebate works well for those who want to purchase a more expensive controller.”