Utah water board taking steps to meter secondary water connections by 2030

Aug 4, 2022, 4:15 PM | Updated: 4:49 pm

SALT LAKE CITYOne of the biggest water conservation projects in the history of Utah was on the table at the Division of Water Resources Thursday. The water board reviewed 70 grant applications for projects that would put meters on more than 100,000 secondary water connections.

“This is really a historic day for the board of Water Resources,” said Candice Hasenyager, director of the Utah Division of Water Resources.

In the midst of an unprecedented drought, Utah lawmakers decided that all pressurized secondary water connections must be metered by 2030. They passed House Bill 242 last legislative session to accomplish that.

On Thursday, the board reviewed project applications from water companies across the state eager for grant money to fund that work.

The Utah water board looked at 70 grant applications for projects that put meters on secondary connections. The legislature provided $250 million of ARPA federal funding to help water companies with 70% of the cost; the remainder is its cost share.

(Jed Boal/KSL TV)

Secondary water is not treated to culinary standards. Most of that water is not metered. Users pay a flat fee and do not know how much they are using. Studies show metering saves.

“By metering our secondary connections, we can save anywhere from 20 and 30%. When we add that up across the state, that totals really significant numbers,” Hasenyager said.

“All of it totaled together, about 54,000 acre feet — small reservoir size. If you want to turn that into something familiar — like a jug of water, a gallon jug of milk — 17 billion gallons is what we’re talking about,” said Marisa Egbert, a funding section manager with the Division of Water Resources.

Water companies, big and small, worked with project managers to determine what they need to do.

“Weber Basin, or Davis-Weber Canal Company, Roy Water Conservancy District all are looking to install over 5,000 meters. Then we have some very small systems that are looking to install 40 meters,” Hasenyager said.

Nearly 60% of all unmetered secondary connections were covered in Thursday’s requests. Those meters will be installed by 2026, as a condition of the grant.

“It’s really exciting,” the director said. “This has been a long time in the making of getting to this point. We are grateful that the legislature appropriated money to this effort.”

The remaining 40% of unmetered connections still need to meet that deadline. Many of them may need to do that without this grant money if they do not act quickly.

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Utah water board taking steps to meter secondary water connections by 2030