St. George enacts daytime watering ban

Watering the garden, St. George, Utah, June 16, 2017 | File photo by Mori Kessler, St. George News

ST. GEORGE – As higher temperatures roll in, so too do the annual watering restrictions implemented by the city.

During a meeting Thursday, the St. George City Council approved a request to enact the mandatory restrictions limiting outdoor watering with the city’s culinary (or drinkable) water to between 8 p.m. and 8 a.m.

Stock image | St. George News

“This helps us use less water and keep our lawns healthy,” said Rene Fleming, the city’s energy and water resources coordinator. “As it gets hot in the summer we lose so much water to evaporation.”

It has been estimated that 60 percent of the culinary water used in the city during the summer months goes toward outdoor watering.

While mandatory, the water restrictions do not have any fines or penalties attached.

“There never have been any penalties attached to it, so it’s been an educational thing,” Fleming said.

Offenders are typically reported by neighbors or city work crews passing through the area, she said.

The individuals are contacted by the city and shown ways they can be more water efficient. It may be a simple matter of adjusting the times the sprinklers are in use.

Most people comply once they learn they’re in violation of the city’s ordinance, Fleming said.

Some residents have expressed frustration over the lack of penalties, Fleming acknowledged, adding she also wishes there was an enforceable mechanism in place that would help remind to water at night or early-morning.

The annual daytime watering restrictions are typically enacted in May and last through September or October, depending on when temperatures finally go down.

It is often asked whether restrictions apply to water used by large facilities like parks, cemeteries, golf courses, some schools and Dixie State University.

The St. George City Cemetery is one of the areas that uses irrigation-quality water and is not subject to the seasonal daytime watering ban, St. George, Utah, June 1, 2015 | File photo by Ric Wayman, St. George News

The 12-hour watering ban doesn’t apply there because the water these facilities and areas use is irrigation-quality. The system also has “much less production and storage capacity” when compared to the city’s culinary system, Fleming said, so they like to use the water as it is available.

This water is generally made up of reused water that is a mix of Virgin River water, brackish well water and treated effluent water from the city’s waste water treatment plant.

“It is a more efficient use of our water resources to have those facilities use irrigation-quality water rather than irrigate at night with high-quality drinking water,” water officials and Fleming have previously stated.

People who would like to learn how to water their lawns more efficiently can schedule a Free Water Check through the Washington County Water Conservancy by calling 435-673-3617.

Email: mkessler@stgnews.com

Twitter: @MoriKessler

Copyright St. George News, SaintGeorgeUtah.com LLC, 2018, all rights reserved.

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10 Comments

  • tcrider May 25, 2018 at 7:50 am

    Whats the deal with the water park being built?
    There hasn’t been any news or very little activity where the park is to built.
    You would think there would some follow up, especially because
    so many county residents were against it to begin with.

    • R. May 25, 2018 at 10:18 am

      I think the water park is fabulous idea! The location on Middleton Dr. I’m not a big fan of. I think that the area at the end of the new Mall Dr. underpass (where there was supposed to be a golf coarse) is more suited to this kind of venue and it’s a larger parcel of land. I think St. George needs more for kids/teens to do that is wholesome and not terribly expensive. Heaven knows the mall isn’t the place to go, but that is another story.

  • PatriotLiberal May 25, 2018 at 8:25 am

    I guarantee you that if you threw a $10 per violation fine behind this and enforced it, the daytime water usage would drop from 60% to ZERO immediately. Why? People care more about money then they do about water.

    • Real Life May 25, 2018 at 10:22 am

      Agree. Why enact a water “ban” if you have ZERO intention of actually enforcing it?

      • Brian May 25, 2018 at 1:32 pm

        Because they want to make it look like they’re doing something without actually doing anything. The point isn’t to reduce water usage. The point is to maintain the appearance of a critical water shortage, pretend to do something, and continue forcing a $3 BILLION pipeline down our throats so they can get money and power from it (just a massive version of what the water conservancy district already is).

      • Striker4 May 25, 2018 at 7:40 pm

        another mental moment from …needs to get a Real Life

  • Travis May 25, 2018 at 3:39 pm

    There should be a moratorium on lawns and golf courses. We certainly have enough rock to create desert scapes rather than try to maintain grass. I saw more water wasted running off the lawn of our rental home in St. George and we were instructed not to touch the settings.

  • Mean Momma May 25, 2018 at 5:04 pm

    Well I’ll be a tattletale and say that I saw a young man at Metcalf Mortuary out watering flowers at 2:30 pm today. Using that good water straight from the garden hose! Tsk, tsk!

  • asianspa May 25, 2018 at 5:08 pm

    I am very confused… a few months ago I was looking at that lovely new development with its large water features and kept hearing water won’t be a problem and housing development will only be approved as water is available but they do expect and are optimistic that their development to be FULLY developed. Now.. we have a daytime watering ban?? Guys… is water a problem or not?? A lot of mixed messages here…

    • Real Life May 26, 2018 at 11:23 am

      Well, we do live in a desert.

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