Salt Lake City, County focus on water conservation as peak-demand season starts

Apr 12, 2022, 9:29 PM | Updated: Jun 11, 2022, 10:47 pm

SALT LAKE COUNTY — Both Salt Lake City and County are focusing on water conservation as peak-demand season begins after a less-than-average winter snowpack and as drought conditions persist.

Salt Lake City announced Tuesday it would start peak-demand season in Stage 2 of the Water Shortage Contingency Plan.

Under Stage 2, Salt Lake City Public Utilities asks people to cut back water use by 5% a day. It also means Salt Lake City Public Utilities will require public golf courses, parks, and city-owned buildings to reduce overall water use.

Stage 2 is listed as the “mild” stage of the five-stage Water Shortage Contingency Plan, when water levels are projected to be at 80% of the Average Annual Supply.

“We cannot wait until later in the season to be proactive about water conservation – we have to make changes today,” Salt Lake City Mayor Erin Mendenhall stated in a press release. “Last year, our residents and business owners were incredible partners in reducing water usage city- and valley-wide, and I’m confident they’ll show up again this year to help conserve this precious resource.”

According to the release, Salt Lake City Public Utilities provides water to all of Salt Lake City, plus Millcreek, Cottonwood Heights, parts of Holladay, Murray, Midvale, and parts of unincorporated Salt Lake County.

Also on Tuesday, Salt Lake County kicked off week two of a Water Summit during a Salt Lake County Council Work Session. The summit, a release states, aims to present “new data, best practices, and achievable steps residents and property owners can collectively take to conserve the water needed now and for generations to come.”

The focus of week two included water laws just passed by the Utah State Legislature. One bill highlighted, HB 282, stops certain entities from prohibiting xeriscaping and water-wise landscaping.

Michael Shea, sustainability director for Salt Lake County, said overall, the law will create more flexible landscaping in the state. It prevents cities, counties, and homeowners associations from requiring turf in parking strips, he said.

Shea also talked about HB 121, which he said imposes water conservation requirements on state-owned facilities and requires the adoption of additional conservation measures.

SB 110, Shea explained next, mandates for municipal general plans requiring local governments to address land use and water use together.

He said that the Salt Lake County West General Plan currently includes water conservation as part of the plan.

The Salt Lake County Council Water Summit will continue every Work Session through May 3.

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Salt Lake City, County focus on water conservation as peak-demand season starts