Water conservation critical as the state faces severe drought conditionsMay 13, 2021 11:52AM ● By Becky Ginos
BOUNTIFUL—It’s been a fairly mild winter across the state. Although many residents were happy not to be shoveling snow, Utahns will all be paying the price as the state suffers from critical drought conditions.
According to the Utah Division of Water Resources, eliminating one watering saves about 3,000 gallons for the average quarter-acre yard.
“Watering is restricted between 10 a.m. and 6 p.m.,” said Richard Hales, supervisor at Bountiful Irrigation District. “It evaporates the most during those times when you’re putting water down. We go through about 13,000 acre feet during the season. That’s the amount of water on one acre and one foot deep.”
Bountiful and some surrounding cities, receive water from Weber Basin that has been taken from the Weber river and flows through an aqueduct that eventually spills into open faced reservoirs, said Hales.
“Bountiful Irrigation District buys the water from Weber Basin,” he said. “We have eight reservoirs that we get our water from, four on Davis Boulevard, two on Bountiful Boulevard, one on 900 East and one on 1300 E. They average about 20 acre feet per reservoir. They’re drained and filled every day in the heat of summer.”
The irrigation lines are separate from the culinary lines and connect to homes in the district’s area. Bountiful Irrigation maintains those lines up to the property line and then it’s the homeowner’s responsibility for any sprinkler issues.
“The system is 60 plus years old,” said Hales. “The life on the mainline pipes is about 50 years. We have tried to change out those lines with new ones over the last 15 years so there won’t be any large leaks. The pipes we’re putting in now are supposed to be good for 100 years. We won’t know if they lasted that long since none of us will be around.”
He said they flush everything out when they drain the pipes in the fall so they usually don’t have any problems with debris.
Most homes have a main shutoff valve that Bountiful Irrigation has control over and so does the homeowner. It takes a large metal “key” to turn on the water in the spring and shut it off in the fall.
“We have control over the valve on the property so if we need to we can use it without shutting down the whole street,” said Hales. “I recommend a secondary valve that they (homeowners) have access to in case of emergency. The street valve can be hard to get to and hard to turn. In an emergency you could have a lot of damage from a leak before you can get it turned off.”
Hales said they’ve done well so far in spite of the drought conditions. “We’ll shut down two weeks early at the end of September. We’ve usually gone until Oct. 15. If we do that we’ll be alright this year and hope for a better snowpack next year or lots of rain this summer.”
Water usage can have an impact on a drought, he said. “But people have done well keeping their water off through the beginning of May. I think they’ve cut back considerably.”