Davis School District showcases their water saving efforts

Jun 15, 2022, 5:14 PM | Updated: 7:42 pm

FARMINGTON, Utah – Many Utahns are cutting their outdoor watering amid the drought. The bigger the property, the more work it typically takes.

The Davis School District has big plans this summer as they aim to cut their outdoor water use nearly in half.

“We’ve gone into a lot of the Waterwise planting,” Jeff Olsen said, who manages irrigation for the district as its outdoor division coordinator.

The Davis School District is tearing out some turf this summer at several schools, adding to the beauty of facilities, and saving water.

They’re committed to cutting outdoor water use by 40%, meeting the governor’s request for municipalities.

A Davis County School District building getting its grass torn out for artificial turf.

And, it’s Olsen’s job to manage more than 600 acres of turf across the school district, which has 100 buildings, including 92 schools.

“We think because of what we’ve done early in the year,” Olsen explained. “We’re going to be able to make it through these 100 days a lot more easily, hopefully, than we would have been had we just started these techniques to save water.”

Most of the schools in the district now have smart meters, which water based on soil moisture and the weather, and they’re in the process of replacing the rest of them. They’ve also stopped watering the grass in areas that don’t need grass, and will replace it with artificial turf, or Waterwise plants.

The new smart water meters are being installed in the Davis School County buildings.

Elsewhere, where they’ve decided where they want grass, they’re letting the grass grow longer.

“We decided to raise our mowing cut to four inches. The longer the grass is, the healthier it is. It doesn’t require as much water. Because the taller it is, the more shade it provides to the root base.”

They used to cut it three to three 1/2 inches.

“It may look a little unkempt sometimes,” Olsen said. “But, I think that’s why we’re getting such good results with less water because it’s taller and does not need as much. The shorter it’s cut, the more water the grass will need.”

At Farmington High School, they’ve already saved 60% on water year to date. Olsen said it keeps more water in the reservoir for next year and for others to use.

“If we can make this work, and we can still maintain the texture of the facility, then yeah, we don’t see any reason why not to just keep with what we’re doing.”

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Davis School District showcases their water saving efforts