Washington County takes the H2Oath with new water-wise program

Stock image, St. George News

ST. GEORGE – Washington County, municipal and water district leaders are partnering with the Utah Division of Water Resources’ H20ath pledge campaign and inviting all Utahns to join in by signing the water conservation pledge online.

Washington County kicks off the H2Oath campaign with tremendous support from the water district and local elected officials. From left to right (back row), Ivins Mayor Chris Hart, Leeds Mayor Wayne Peterson, LaVerkin Mayor Kerry Gubler, WCWCD Board Chairman Ed Bowler and WCWCD General Manager Ron Thompson; (front row) Virgin Mayor Bruce Densley, St. George Mayor Jon Pike, Washington Mayor Ken Neilson, Hurricane Mayor John Bramall, County Commissioner Chairman Alan Gardener, County Commissioner Zach Renstrom, Apple Valley Mayor Rick Moser and Santa Clara Mayor Rick Rosenberg, St. George, Utah, April 27, 2016 | Photo courtesy Washington County Water Conservancy District, St. George News
Washington County kicks off the H2Oath campaign with support from the water district and local elected officials. From left to right (back row), Ivins Mayor Chris Hart, Leeds Mayor Wayne Peterson, LaVerkin Mayor Kerry Gubler, WCWCD Board Chairman Ed Bowler and WCWCD General Manager Ron Thompson; (front row) Virgin Mayor Bruce Densley, St. George Mayor Jon Pike, Washington Mayor Ken Neilson, Hurricane Mayor John Bramall, County Commissioner Chairman Alan Gardener, County Commissioner Zach Renstrom, Apple Valley Mayor Rick Moser and Santa Clara Mayor Rick Rosenberg, St. George, Utah, April 27, 2016 | Photo courtesy Washington County Water Conservancy District, St. George News

The initiative was announced by the Water Conservancy District Tuesday in conjunction with a statewide effort by the Utah Division of Water Resources.

H2Oath: Utah’s Water-Wise Pledge encourages water conservation efforts by families, businesses, government agencies and statewide organizations.

The H2Oath follows the recommendations of the “Slow the Flow” campaign and shows that individuals are willing to participate in various conservation measures, Karry Rathje, Washington County Water Conservancy District spokesperson, said.

Provisions of the pledge include following the irrigation guide the state publishes weekly, running washing machines and dishwashers only when full, taking shorter showers, and much more.

“It’s a pledge campaign, saying ‘we’re going to incorporate these practices,” Rathje said.

Water-wise plants are an important part of water conservation, Dixie Regional Medical Center grounds, date unspecified | Photo courtesy Washington County Water Conservancy District, St. George News
Water-wise plants are an important part of water conservation, Dixie Regional Medical Center grounds, date unspecified | Photo courtesy Washington County Water Conservancy District, St. George News

“The little things make a big difference, and so we’re just trying to adopt some of those and encourage our residents and business and home owners to incorporate those practices.”

The district has been working with mayors and county commissioners, Rathje said, to sign the H2Oath and plans to work with the public to promote their participation in the program.

“We find that Utah residents – if they say they’re going to do something, they do it,” Rathje said, “and so we think this pledge campaign will be an opportunity for them to make that pledge and start incorporating those changes.”

According to the Utah Division of Water Resources, conservation measures are needed throughout the state. Utah has been experiencing long-term drought conditions for the past several years, and Utah’s population is projected to more than double by 2060, so meeting future needs will require additional conservation. 

The Water District has a long list of ongoing conservation projects and initiatives, manager Ron Thompson said, including an education initiative for fourth-graders which has taught 40,000 school children about water conservation.

“(This week) we’ll have a couple thousand elementary students come to Dixie College and have two days of all kinds of classes and games and stuff that teach the kids about water and where it comes from and how to use it wisely and so forth,” Thompson said. “We think if the kids get trained, they’ll train the parents.”

During the last two decades, the district and its municipal partners have invested millions of dollars annually into conservation initiatives, Rathje said. Efforts include converting 1,350,000 feet of open canals to pipelines, repairing leaking pipes, installing meters, developing two water conservation demonstration gardens and hosting more than 200 free community events. More than 2,000 free irrigation audits have been performed.

The district launched its rebate program in 2005 and has distributed nearly $1 million to local businesses and residents who have installed water-efficient irrigation systems, plumbing fixtures and commercial equipment. 

In addition, the district requires its municipal partners have a conservation plan, a tiered conservation rate structure, landscaping ordinances and time of day watering ordinances to purchase water from the district through its Regional Water Supply Agreement, Rathje said.   

The district offers free community landscape workshops and a variety of rebates to help residents conserve water with low-flow toilets, high-efficiency washing machines, water-smart landscaping and much more.

Water-wise plants are an important part of water conservation, location and date unspecified | Photo courtesy Washington County Water Conservancy District, St. George News
Water-wise plants are an important part of water conservation, location and date unspecified | Photo courtesy Washington County Water Conservancy District, St. George News

Homeowner University is a new program set to start this summer which will help homeowners with existing landscapes get professional advice about how to economically change their landscaping to be more water-wise, Thompson said.

Homeowners will be teamed with professional landscapers to develop a plan for retrofitting an existing landscape to use less water. The class begins Aug. 10 and is free.

The water district offers a free lawn water audit each year May-September. To schedule an appointment call Julie Breckenridge at 435-673-3617.

The Water District has information including tips and techniques available on its website to help residents learn about water conservation.

The Washington County Water Conservancy District is one of the state’s four largest water conservancy districts. Together with Central Utah, Jordan Valley and Weber Basin, the districts provide water to 85 percent of Utah’s population.

The pledge

The H2Oath recommends the following practices:

  • I will water my landscape no more than is recommended by the Weekly Lawn Watering Guide found on SlowTheFlow.org, and posted weekly on the Utah Division of Water Resources Facebook page and Twitter account. (If everyone does it, it will save Utah billions of gallons)
  • I will not water my landscape at the hottest time of the day.
  • I will not water during or directly after a rainstorm.
  • I will adjust my sprinklers to avoid spraying sidewalks and driveways.
  • I will adjust my lawn mower to one of the higher settings to help shade roots, and reduce the need for water.
  • I will look for opportunities to add water-wise plants to my landscape.
  • I will identify and fix leaks both inside and outside of my home.
  • I will reduce my shower time by at least 1 minute per shower.
  • I will wait until I have a full load to run my dishwasher or washing machine.

Resources

Email: japplegate@stgnews.com

Twitter: @STGnews

Copyright St. George News, SaintGeorgeUtah.com LLC, 2016, all rights reserved.

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3 Comments

  • beacon May 11, 2016 at 5:32 pm

    Given that almost half of our water goes to commercial, industrial and institutional use, the biggest users need to be identified and dealt with directly to improve their behavior. Many citizens already are and have been for sometime working to conserve their use. HOAs are some of the biggest water waster; yet no laws have been enacted to ensure that future developments are built and managed differently, nor are current HOAs allowing residents to manage their water better. This “H2O Oath” is a step in the right direction, but if our leaders think that this should make all Washington County taxpayers feel good about paying for the Lake Powell Pipeline, I think they have another thing coming.

  • ladybugavenger May 12, 2016 at 4:43 pm

    I don’t like HOA’s!

  • .... May 13, 2016 at 3:45 am

    I don’t like HOA’s either that’s why I drive a VW

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