When are you allowed to water your lawn this summer?
SALT LAKE CITY — The Utah Department of Natural Resources released an updated guide to help homeowners and businesses figure out how often they can water their thirsty lawns this summer.
Every county in the state is now under a state watering recommendation for the first time this year.
Utah has been in the grip of a historic drought. Last month Gov. Spencer J. Cox declared a state of emergency because of the drought conditions.
The declaration activated the Drought Response Committee and triggered increased monitoring and reporting.
Even though storms brought rain and snow last week, the DNR watering guide added 15 additional counties to the “one irrigation per week” category.
“The guide takes extensive data based on weather patterns and evapotranspiration rates and simplifies it into how many days per week to water grass based on conditions in each county,” said Shelby Ericksen, the division’s conservation coordinator. “Keep in mind these are general county recommendations, and people need to monitor their landscape and make adjustments as needed.”
Check with your water provider to see local restrictions.
The initial water guide listed Washington County as the only one with a watering recommendation.
As temperatures and storms dropped off DNR added more counties to the water recommendations list.
Counties in southern Utah are experiencing soaring temperatures this week so the guide advised residents to water up to three times a week. Much of northern Utah should water just once a week.
“Especially in the springtime, the guidelines vary weekly depending on what Mother Nature has in store, so we encourage people to check each week and make adjustments as needed,” said Ericksen. “Now is also a great time to test sprinkler systems and make repairs to ensure they are working efficiently.”
One low-tech way to find out if your lawn needs some water is simply by poking a screwdriver into the turf. If it goes in easily, there is plenty of moisture in the soil.
If there’s a lot of resistance when you start to push the screwdriver in, it may be time to start watering.
Also, don’t quench your lawn. Keep it thirsty. When you water as little as possible, the grassroots grow deeper, making the grass more resilient.
Technology can also help conserve.
A smart irrigation controller connects to Wi-Fi and receives local weather information. If you’re interested in getting one of the smart controllers you may be able to get money-saving rebates here.
Also, if you have a smart irrigation controller, make sure it’s connected to Wi-Fi and receiving local weather data. If you don’t have a smart controller, visit utahwatersavers.com to find out how to qualify for money-saving rebates.
Programable systems should be set to the recommended waterings from your local provider.
“Because Utah is one of the driest states in the country, it’s important that we use water efficiently. The average yard uses about 3,000 gallons of water for each watering, so eliminating one watering yields significant savings,” said Ericksen. “Proper watering also helps avoid problems with pests and disease and reduces costs associated with overwatering, saving time and money.” Area-specific watering information may also be available from local water providers.
An updated version of the guide is published online every Friday.
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