ST. GEORGE – Seasonal daytime watering restrictions have again been implemented as temperatures rise and the region progresses through another year of drought. The City Council unanimously approved the measure Thursday.
Outdoor watering restrictions – culinary water
The seasonal restrictions apply to outdoor watering by homes and businesses between the hours of 8 a.m. and 8 p.m.
Water used during the day will evaporate as summer temperatures rise. Nighttime watering, on the other hand, will allow the water to get into the soil and be used more efficiently, René Fleming, the city’s energy and water resources coordinator, said during a St. George City Council meeting.
Fleming made an added request that the public avoid watering around 6 a.m., if possible, as that is a time of peak water use.
“A lot of things are happening first thing in the morning,” she said. “So if they can do that other than right at 6 a.m., that would be great.”
For people and businesses that may not come into compliance with the watering restrictions, Fleming said there’s no penalty attached. Rather, when she learns of a violation, she will contact the violating party and make them aware of the situation, which typically results in them coming into compliance.
The City Council heard a proposed ordinance in April that would penalize “egregious” water wasters with a potential fine. Fleming said there hasn’t been much movement on the proposal since it was originally introduced to the council.
Irrigation water – unrestricted, city use as available
The seasonal water restrictions implemented by the city only apply to the use of the city’s culinary water – or drinking-quality water – system, and not its secondary water system that is primarily used by large irrigators.
“Water that’s been treated and meets drinking water standards – it’s our highest-quality water versus our irrigation water,” Fleming said. “(Irrigation water) is generally a combination of raw water from the Virgin and Santa Clara rivers, and reuse water from treatment effluent from the water treatment plant.”
Unlike the city’s primary (culinary) water system, the secondary system lacks a significant production and storage capacity, Fleming said. Because of this, the city would have irrigators use that water when it’s available.
“We feel it’s a better use of our resources to have them water as the water is available as opposed to putting them on culinary water to try and get it done in 12 hours,” she said. “So you’ll see the university, the golf courses, parks, cemeteries watering during the day as they need to, but they are on the secondary water system.”
Water efficiency – learn more
For individuals who want to know how they can use their water more efficiently, Fleming also said the Washington County Water Conservancy District has a water check program they can take part in. The program has been running for 10 years now.
The water district will send someone to a home upon request to evaluate the home’s irrigation system and help create a customized irrigation schedule based on the irrigator’s needs and their existing system’s capability. A rebate program for upgrading the irrigation system is also a possible option, Fleming said.
The city’s outdoor watering restrictions typically last throughout the summer and into September.
The City Council also approved the distribution of funds from an annual federal Community Development Block Grant program to the following:
- $300,000 as a payment for the SwitchPoint Community Resource Center
- $35,000 to the Red Rock Center for Independence
- $25,000 to the Utah Food Bank
- $20,000 to TURN Community Services
City Manager Gary Esplin said the city anticipates receiving $478,000 from the federal program.
A public hearing for the city’s proposed 2015-16 city budget was continued to the City Council’s June 18 meeting.
- Gov. Herbert signs executive order to conserve water
- City hears proposal to implement fines against egregious water wasters
- State officials mandate Virgin River water cuts; future uncertain
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