Lehi touts huge water savings compared to last year

Jul 20, 2022, 7:18 PM | Updated: 8:53 pm

LEHI, Utah — Lehi leaders said the city’s water restrictions are paying off in a big way, after touting savings of more than 4.2 million gallons of water in one week compared to the same week last year.

The amount of savings in that one week is equal to about 6.5 Olympic-size swimming pools. Lehi is on track to save a lot more by the end of the irrigation season.

“I applaud all efforts,” resident Lance Carlton said.

Conserving water has been important to Carlton for a long time. He and his family began tearing out their yard to make way for rocks when they moved to Lehi five years ago.

“There’s not a lot of water around. We need more of it.”

Now with each passing year of more drought, “It feels good to already have this when we’re in such a tight spot.”

There are relatively few xeriscape yards in the neighborhood, but the city said more people have conserved water.

“It’s huge to conserve because we can save that water,” said Matt Dalton, Lehi’s water operations supervisor over culinary and pressurized irrigation systems.

“We talk about saving water in Deer creek ad Jordanelle but the biggest place we’re seeing our conservation effort in saving water now is in our underground aquifer.”

Dalton said that’s important because much of the city’s culinary water also comes from underground. Dalton noted the amount of water savings they’ve seen is impressive, not only when you consider the drought but the huge growth Lehi has seen.

In 2020, the city delivered water to about 20,850 dwellings. There were no water restrictions in place and many stayed home more often due to the pandemic. Dalton said that was a big year for water use in the city, at about 277,000 gallons of water per unit.

In 2021, there were 21,910 dwellings. The city put water restrictions in place beginning in July and delivered about 205,000 gallons of water per unit.

This year growth has jumped to 24,953 dwellings so far and the city is looking to deliver about 170,000 gallons of water to each unit.

“It’s the citizens who have gotten on board and all of our water users—the churches and the school districts. Everybody has gotten on board and they’re all doing their part in this conservation effort to save water,” Dalton said.

For the city’s part, Shawn Winters says it transitioned about 75% of its city park irrigation systems to smart controllers, which track and monitor watering, weather, and damage to sprinklers from the day before in order to avoid overwatering.

“It monitors every gallon that goes through every station,” said Winters, the assistant superintendent of Lehi City Parks. “As it rains it takes that into account and it will shut off for the next three days.”

Dalton says if the city stays on this track of water saving, it will save 2,000 acre feet this season compared to last year. That’s 650 million gallons of water.

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Lehi touts huge water savings compared to last year