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Davis Journal

Bountiful City strengthens its water restriction guidelines

Jun 24, 2021 03:42PM ● By Tom Haraldsen

BOUNTIFUL—The drought of 2021 is forcing cities and counties to tighten their rules for water restriction, and bolstering penalties for those who don’t comply.

City council members in Bountiful voted Tuesday night to modify the community’s current policies for residential water use. Under the new resolution, the city’s water regulation and conservation program would make the following changes for culinary water usage:

Homes with even numbered addresses are permitted to water on Mondays, Thursdays and Saturdays. Homes with odd numbered addresses can water on Tuesdays, Fridays and Sundays. No watering will be allowed on Wednesdays so the system can recover. Maximum water cycles are limited to three per week, per property. Individual zones (valves) are limited to 20 minutes for spray heads and 40 minutes for rotor heads. Council can also revise these regulations at a future date if needed.

City engineer Lloyd Cheney was quite emotional in his presentation, adding that in the 20 years he’s worked for the city, “summer is always a concern for me. In March, we participated in the annual update provided by the Weber Basin Water Conservancy District. At that time, reservoir storage in the system was estimated at a dismal 64 percent of total capacity.” He said numbers that low aren’t usually found until near the end of summer, and certainly not in the spring.

“Water distribution in Bountiful is very complex,” he said. “We receive culinary water from four sources – Bountiful City, Bountiful Irrigation, South Davis Water and Deuel Creek Irrigation.” He said in recent conversations with both Bountiful Irrigation and South Davis Water, they expressed confidence in their ability to continue providing water to their service areas. But two recent residential fires in the city foretold a concern he has had about Bountiful City’s water storage. He said it took more than a week for the tanks to completely recover from those two blazes.

In his preliminary report to the council, he said the city’s culinary water system “has struggled to keep up with the growing demand in the east and southeast areas of the city” for the past 20 summers. The city relies heavily on its Water Treatment Plant, which he called “the crown jewel of our system.” With this year’s drought coupled with dry winters the past few years, Lloyd said quite plainly that “we need to change the culture of how we use water in our city.”

At his recommendation, the council approved Resolution 2021-13 declaring a water scarcity in Bountiful. In addition to the prescribed “watering days,” the measure also authorizes city staff to enforce the regulations via a fine structure as follows.

First Offense – Violators would be issued a written warning. 

Second Offense – $100 fine added to the utility bill. This fine may be waived by the City Engineer or the Water Department Director upon the offending party submitting an evaluation of the sprinkling system operation by a qualified third party, and proposed modifications to watering practices based on the irrigation system performance, and signing an agreement for future compliance with watering restrictions. 

Third Offense – $250 fine added to the utility bill and a mandatory sprinkler system evaluation by a qualified third party the results of which will be submitted to the City Engineer. Sign an agreement for future compliance with watering restrictions. Failure to comply, pay fines and obtain sprinkler system evaluation shall result in disconnection of the irrigation system until such provisions are completed. The account holder will be responsible for any disconnection or reconnection fees.

Fourth Offense – An additional $500 fine added to the utility bill and mandatory disconnection of irrigation system for the remainder of the irrigating season. 

Fifth Offense – Termination of all water service to the property for the remainder of the irrigating season.

“The real goal is preservation of a resource,” Lloyd said. The resolution was passed by unanimous vote.