‘Flip Blitz’ helps Utahns convert thirsty landscapes into water-wise strips

May 19, 2022, 7:37 AM | Updated: Jun 22, 2022, 2:15 pm

SALT LAKE CITY — This spring, as the drought intensifies, more Utahns are finding ways to save water on their landscapes. The Central Utah Water Conservancy District and Meta-Facebook spent Thursday helping people flip their park strips in Utah County.

As part of the second ‘Flip Blitz’, volunteers across the state flipped grass-filled park strips into beautiful water-wise designs in a single day, helping homeowners save on their water bills.

“Utah’s population is continuing to grow, and with that, so is the demand for watering,” said Rick Maloy, water conservation manager for Central Utah Water Conservancy District.

Volunteers began the Flip Blitz by ripping out thirsty sod and preparing soil for water-wise plants at 20 different sites across the state.

“Water is a limited resource here in Utah, and we need to make sure that we preserve it and utilize that water the best we can,” Maloy said.

Clearfield City Mayor Mark Shepherd said his city is flipping all of its park strips in an effort to reduce the community’s water use by 20%.

“We’re 100% culinary, which means when you’re using thousands and thousands, tens of thousands of gallons to water your lawn, it’s culinary water,” Shepherd said. “It’s drinking water.”

Shepard said all that work is paying off. “We installed last year, sprinkler models, our smart sprinkler systems throughout the entire city, it saved us about 30% of our water.

Volunteers replaced sod with waterwise plants as part of a one day Flip Blitz effort. (KSL TV) Volunteers replaced sod with waterwise plants as part of a one day Flip Blitz effort. (KSL TV) Volunteers replaced sod with waterwise plants as part of a one day Flip Blitz effort. (KSL TV) Volunteers replaced sod with waterwise plants as part of a one day Flip Blitz effort. (KSL TV)

Facebook’s parent company is funding the conversion of seven park strips in Utah County in a single day.

Homeowners like Liz Russell can save 5,000 to 10,000 gallons each year by flipping their strip.

“So, our park strip is 93 feet long. It takes a long time to take care of. It takes a lot of water, and we don’t want to deal with it,” Russell said, as volunteers flipped her strip.

She and her family moved into their Utah County home last year and quickly realized that the park strip was a problem.

“It just wasted water,” she said. “We just thought, this is not what we should be doing with our water, especially when we are having severe drought.”

Now, volunteers are putting in a drip system they can attach to their hoses.

“This is a really busy road,” Russell said. “So, I’m hoping that people will see it and say, hey this is what I could do too.”

Statewide, Central Utah Water and many partners helped convert more than 120,000 square feet of park strip to water-wise plants. They converted more than 20 landscapes Thursday with more than three-quarters of that work happening in Washington County, including several large municipal and public properties.

Many communities and the state offer turf buyback rebates to help people get started. Utahns are digging in to save and beautify.

“It shows us that you can have a lush and beautiful landscape that uses a fraction of the water of a traditional lawn,” said Joel Williams, with the Utah Division of Water Resources.

For more information on how to flip your strip, and to find out whether you qualify for a $1.25 per square foot rebate, check out localscapes.com and utahwatersavers.com.

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‘Flip Blitz’ helps Utahns convert thirsty landscapes into water-wise strips