LOCAL NEWS

Water Becoming Increasingly Precious In Utah; Here’s How To Save Thousands Of Gallons With Drip Irrigation

Aug 23, 2018, 3:42 PM | Updated: 9:27 pm

SALT LAKE CITY, Utah – Despite recent rain, years of low snowpack pack and a rising population has many Utah cities and towns running low on water.

There’s one way the Environmental Protection Agency says could save a typical home more 25,000 gallons a water every year: use drip irrigation in your garden.

James Loomis of Wasatch Community Garden said this is the driest he’s ever seen Utah. He doesn’t see any let up in the near future.

“Less water plus more people equals a lot more restrictions,” Loomis formulated. “We’ve probably hit peak water and we need to learn how to work in that framework.”

Loomis is a firm believer in drip irrigation. It delivers water directly to the soil around plants. The low flow helps the soil soak in the water more efficiently than a hose or sprinklers.

“It allows it to really penetrate and get into the soil and minimizes that evaporative water loss,” Loomis expounded. “Where we are doing overhead irrigation, of course, now we’re losing a tremendous amount of water to evaporation as well as wind drift.”

The EPA estimates drip irrigation uses 20 – 50 percent less water than a sprinkler system.

Jim Roy installed a drip system for his garden some five years ago.

“Definitely, there’s been a reduction,” said Roy. “You know you’re using less because of the simple fact you’re watering for only five minutes as opposed to 45 minutes.”

Conservation isn’t the only reason Roy is sold on drip irrigation.

“I think you get a stronger, healthier plant. You get more yield,” he said. “Come September, I can’t harvest it all. My neighbors are like, please, no more cucumbers. No more tomatoes. We’re good!”

The cost of water is going up in Utah. In July, West Jordan switched to a tiered system. The more water you use, the more you pay per gallon. Nearly out of water for lawns, Farmington is considering using meters on its secondary water for the first time. And Logan, this summer, upped its water rates by 35 percent.

You can buy a starter drip irrigation kit for as little as $56. There will be some maintenance, but it won’t burn a hole in your wallet.

“I’m at $8 for the year. I waste that much on lunch,” Roy said.

You also don’t need a lot of knowledge to install a system.

“Go buy a small LEGO kit rated for five to ten years old,” said Loomis. “If you can throw that thing together, chances are, you can handle most of your drip irrigation needs.”

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Water Becoming Increasingly Precious In Utah; Here’s How To Save Thousands Of Gallons With Drip Irrigation