ST. GEORGE – With the return of summer, the City of St. George’s seasonal outdoor watering restrictions are back in place.
This year’s measure implementing the mandatory restrictions was passed by the St. George City Council last week and went into effect Friday. The ban restricts outdoor watering with culinary – that is, drinking-quality – water between 8 a.m. and 8 p.m.
“It doesn’t do any good to water during certain times of the day,” City Manager Gary Esplin said in the council meeting Thursday.
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, said René Fleming, the city’s energy and water resources coordinator.
An estimated 60 percent of the culinary water used in the city during the summer months goes toward outdoor watering.
While the ordinance is mandatory, it is not enforced through fines. Rather, would-be offenders are contacted by the city and educated on ways they can be more water-efficient. It may be a simple matter of adjusting the times the sprinklers are in use.
“It raises awareness,” Fleming said, adding the majority of people are very compliant.
The watering restrictions typically last into September.
Now what about the water people see being used by large facilities like the parks, cemeteries, golf courses, some schools and Dixie State University? The 12-hour watering ban doesn’t apply to those because the water they use is not drinkable, Fleming said. It is reuse water that is a mix of Virgin River water, brackish well water and treated effluent water from the city’s waste water treatment plant.
“The production and storage capacity on the irrigation system is limited, which means all those large facilities cannot complete watering in a 12-hour period,” city water officials said in a statement issued Friday that echoed an explanation Fleming has given may times before.
“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 said.
Fleming added that residents can learn more about water-efficient practices for gardening at monthly workshops held by the city and the Washington County Water Conservancy District.
Individuals interested in the workshops can contact Fleming via email at email@example.com for a workshop schedule.
Examples of water-efficient gardening and landscaping can also be found at the Tonaquint Community Garden at 1851 S. Dixie Drive and the Red Hills Desert Garden at 469 Red Hills Parkway.
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