What the HAYnes? Embrace your European side, St. George

HUMOR – Here is a bit of information that may come as a surprise to some people, specifically people who prefer magnificently green European-style lawns and gardens or who use Slip ‘n Slides regularly: St. George and the entire Washington County area is situated in a desert.

This news is unfortunate, given the important role of water in sustaining life and the fact that deserts have notoriously low water supplies.

In the movies, nobody lives easily in a desert. It is always a dusty, parched, chapped-lipped survival-type situation involving rattlesnakes, cacti, mirages, and worst of all – Las Vegas. This is one of those rare instances when the movies got it right. Surviving the desert is not for dummies.

Water is a precious commodity here, like sunshine and factory outlet stores are in other climates. We cannot afford to use water as though we have an unlimited supply of it. Sure, we can pay a billion dollars to have it piped in from other places, but doesn’t it make more sense to be frugal with the resources we already have? Who doesn’t love saving money on their monthly utility bill, and in the long run, their tax bill?

On that note, I have collected a few ideas that everyone can implement that will conserve water. These ideas might not do anything to stop the billion-dollar pipeline, but if nothing else you will enjoy the feeling of satisfaction that comes from being a wise steward. Plus, it is something you can sanctimoniously brag about at parties. Win, win.

If lush European landscaping is your thing, may I suggest that you stop shaving your legs? Every shower is different, but an old-fashioned shower head uses 7 to 10 gallons of drinking water per minute. Newer, low-flow models use around 2 or 3 gallons per minute. With either model you will save a lot of water by going European and skipping the shave. If you are feeling truly European, skip the shower altogether.

Are you one of those people who feel the compulsive need to flush the toilet every time they use it? I salute you, but the bad news is you are sending roughly 6 gallons of drinking water down the drain with every flush. If your commode was manufactured prior to 2000, you can earn $75 in rebate money by replacing your old toilet with a more efficient WaterSense toilet. That is $75 you can use on deodorant to mask the scent of someone who has foregone showering in the name of water conservation.

My last idea is the most exciting of all. Everyone complains about mowing their lawn. And are you aware that at least 60 percent of our drinking water is used to keep our lawns green? Are you tired of fighting nature? Get rid of your grass or at least water it less. If nothing else, be sure to water your lawn at night when the 120 degree summer sun is not out, sucking away your water and your will to live.

The only downside to getting rid of your lawn is that you will no longer have a comfortable place for your Slip ‘n Slide.

Elise Haynes chronicles family life in her blog Haynes Family Yard Sale. Any opinions stated in this column are her own and not necessarily those of St. George News.

Email: [email protected]

Twitter: @STGnews

Copyright St. George News, SaintGeorgeUtah.com LLC, 2013, all rights reserved.


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  • Big Bob July 5, 2013 at 1:46 pm

    OMG, thankyou for this article! It really is a good reflection on the local stupidity when it comes to living and embracing the Mojave Desert conditions!!

  • joe July 5, 2013 at 1:56 pm

    i disagree i like green grass who cares about saving water

  • Dorothy Engelman July 5, 2013 at 2:57 pm

    Attend & be informed:
    July 10 meeting:
    The Washington County Economic Development Council will meet next on Wednesday, July 10th at 4:00 PM in Intermountain Healthcare’s Offices, 1424 East Foremaster Drive (directly south of Dixie Regional Medical Center).

    The meeting agenda features a presentation on Water Stability in Washington County by Jeremy Aguero, principal analyst with Applied Analysis, an economic, fiscal and policy research firm based in Las Vegas. Aguero has been commissioned by the Washington County Water District to review and analyze impacts of water stability with its service area. Aguero will address the economic impacts of water development. Aguero was hired by the water district to present their positive position on the effects of the pipeline.

    July 25 Governor Herbert’s water future public meeting:

    For Immediate Release
    July 1, 2013
    An Invitation for Public Comment

    What will Utah look like in 10, 20 or 50 years from now? This summer, Governor Herbert is asking the public to help decide.

    The Governor is seeking innovative solutions to our water needs that do not break the bank or dry up our streams ideas that secure the long-term future of Utah. To assist him in this task, he has brought together a panel of water experts who have been asked to gather public input about the use, development and conservation of water in our state.

    “To succeed, this must be a collaborative process, where everyone has a voice and where all ideas are welcome,” said Alan Matheson, the Governor’s Environmental Advisor. “We need the general public’s help because at the end of the day, they are a major part of the solution. We invite all to participate in this important effort.”

    The Governor is seeking comments or suggestions about:
    Addressing competition for water resources
    Meeting the water needs of our growing population while protecting the environment and the beauty and outdoor lifestyle we enjoy
    Funding water infrastructure?for building new and/or upgrading existing infrastructure
    Defining the future of water for agriculture
    Addressing the complicated issues around water law and its application
    Using our water more efficiently
    Other issues related to our water future
    The following public meetings will be held from 7 to 9 pm.

    July 25 ST. GEORGE
    DSU, Dunford Auditorium
    225 South 700 East, St. George

    August 15 CIRPAC meeting (4-6 pm):

    Amelia Nuding with Western Resource Advocates will present: The Local Water Alternative to the Lake Powell Pipeline (See link below to report for review prior to meeting where she will explain in greater detail.) This is a very important meeting for interested citizens to attend. We will all pay for water one way or the other, so people should speak out about their preference.


    American Rivers explains water infrastructure, who pay, how and for what. Very interesting and insightful information for citizens to help understand water projects and their pitfalls: http://www.americanrivers.org/newsroom/resources/drinking-water-infrastructure.html

    This excellent guide is intended to acquaint advocates with the financing practices and imperatives that define drinking water management today. it can be used to prepare for engagement with drinking water utilities, the city councils that set water rates and the State Revolving Fund administrators that help to finance water infrastructure. And it can be used by advocates of all different stripes – environmental, affordability and taxpayer advocates – to strategize collaboration.

    This guide should help advocates understand not only how to be more effective opponents of destructive and bloated infrastructure projects, but also how to be more effective proponents of sustainable drinking water systems. It covers such important topics as:

    How do water systems pay for infrastructure?
    What risks come along with financing water infrastructure?
    Why don’t water systems put conservation first?
    How should water systems structure their rates?
    How do water systems pay for conservation?
    How do we balance conservation and affordability?
    How do we build support for conservation?
    Western Resource Advocates presents an alternative to the expensive and potentially unreliable Lake Powell Pipeline in The Local Water Alternative to the Lake Powell Pipeline: http://www.westernresourceadvocates.org/water/powell.php.

    The Local Waters Alternative is a solution to meet the future water needs of Washington County, Utah, by relying on local water supplies such as water conservation, water reuse and agricultural water transfers. It demonstrates that the proposed Lake Powell Pipeline, a project that would pump water from Lake Powell to Washington County, is unnecessary. Western Resource Advocates submitted this Local Waters Alternative to the Federal Energy Regulatory Commission (FERC), who is the permitting agency for the Lake Powell Pipeline Project.

    • Zeke July 8, 2013 at 2:24 pm

      Gee Thanks for the SPAM comment. There should be a penalty or fine for that! Sheeeesh

  • DB July 5, 2013 at 3:00 pm

    I got rid of the lawn and installed red rock a few years ago and never looked back, love it. The Slip ‘n Slide had to go, too, however, but the sight of a 60 year old on a Slip ‘n Slide is not a pretty one, anyway.

  • LM July 5, 2013 at 3:56 pm

    I am not sure how to react to this article. The writer must have grown up in Utah and never left to go to Europe because there is so many aspects of European life style she is missing. First of all Europeans showers just as much as Americans. Most Europeans don’t take baths. They do have technology that helps them preserve as much water as possible when showering. Also Europeans shave just like Americans maybe they use electric shavers. Europeans are extremely concerned about the environment and therefore try to save where-ever possible (water is expensive even in non drought areas). Europeans live in smaller places which also saves on the environment — most people don’t live in houses that is displayed in this article. I agree we need to think about the environment we live in but don’t use reasons that don’t make any sense. We live in a desert and we need to landscape like a desert. We need to take care of mother earth and be environmental aware in all aspects.

    • DB July 7, 2013 at 5:02 pm

      The article was meant to be humorous…

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