LOCAL NEWS

Hyde Park Must Cut Water Use In Half Or Tanks Could Run Dry By Saturday

Jun 30, 2021, 6:09 PM | Updated: Jul 1, 2021, 10:00 am

HYDE PARK, Utah — As the drought intensified, residents in one Cache County community found out two days ago that their water could run out this weekend if people don’t cut back immediately. City officials in Hyde Park asked people to cut in half their outside watering because city water tanks were projected to run dry Saturday.

The water in Hyde Park comes from a well and a spring that replenishes their water tanks every day. Right now, because of outdoor watering, everybody is using up the water faster than the tanks can refill.

“My husband and I were just completely blown away. What city completely runs out of water?” asked Hyde Park resident Ashley Graham.

The city notified Graham and her neighbors Monday about the urgent water situation.

“I think that a lot of people are willing to not water their lawns at all,” Graham said. “But we had no the idea it was this dire.”

Given more warning, she thinks people would have acted sooner.

“If my family had known that we might be out of water in June, we would not have been watering our grass at all,” she said. “A lot of people would have done things differently had they known this can be a dire situation very quickly.”

Jo Phillips agreed. She said she’s already been conserving as much as possible because everybody in the state is aware of the drought. This will be her first summer in Utah, and she was shocked by the notification from the city.

“How can we run out of water?” Phillips asked. “How can it be this acute? How come we didn’t know about the severity so soon?”

As soon as she got the notification, she cut back on watering and got her sprinklers tuned up.

“So, that we can conserve and do whatever we can to do our part,” she said. “It’s only June. What’s going to happen come July, August and September?”

Mayor Charles Wheeler said nobody needs to panic, as long as everyone does their part.

“This isn’t a panic situation. It’s a serious situation, and it can become dire in a hurry,” he said.

Wheeler said it’s not a capacity problem, it’s a delivery problem.

“We are using water quicker than we can provide it,” he said.

The city’s main water tanks fill at night and drawdown during the day. Twelve days ago, the tanks trended downward rapidly.

“At night, it would come up a bit, and in the daytime, it went down a lot,” Wheeler said.

To illustrate the problem, he compared their water system to a toilet. When people water their lawns, it’s like flushing the toilet, emptying the water all at once. It takes time for that toilet tank, and the city water tanks to recharge and that’s why the city asked for help and cut back on its own watering.

“Luckily, our citizens responded,” Wheeler said.

Within 24 hours of notifying residents, the tanks started to refill again at night. Residents will get another notification from the city Wednesday evening letting them know that if everyone continues to cut back, “We are able to handle the needs of the city and not have problems,” Wheeler said.

Residents, however, were concerned about the growth in the community and increasing demand as new residents arrive. They think there should be a moratorium on new homes as long as there is uncertainty with the water system.

Wheeler said he is confident that the city has enough water for immediate use, and even future growth. The city is in the process of adding a larger tank in Hyde Park Canyon.

“The problem is the ability to refill that tank faster than people use it,” he said.

Wheeler pointed out that this is essentially the problem for every community In Utah as the drought continues.

“The tanks can only be filled so fast,” he said. “If they turn on everything, it’s just like flushing the toilet, and the water goes down the drain. In all of our cities, we need people to slow the flow.”

The city has sent letters to the top 100 residential water users, and the top 21 water users among businesses asking them to cut back on their water usage. The mayor said potential rate hikes and penalties are under consideration if the community cannot work together to ensure that everyone has enough water.

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Hyde Park Must Cut Water Use In Half Or Tanks Could Run Dry By Saturday