Farmington City Council passes ordinance to deal with water shortageAug 05, 2021 09:16AM ● By Wayne Kartchner
Creeks are normally much higher at this time of year. Photo by Wayne Kartchner
Recent weather patterns have caused a critical water shortage. Even without the recent drought natural disasters and mechanical failures can affect the demand and supply of drinking water and secondary water.
Parks and Recreation Director, Neil Miller said Farmington is trying to deal with the recent drought. “We’re doing everything we can and holy cow it’s hard!”
“I’ve been driving through town and seeing the brown lawns,” City Council member Rebecca Wayment said during a recent city council meeting. “I’m so proud of the citizens of our city who are doing what they can to preserve water.”
Many homeowners are worried that their lawns will die if they don’t use a great deal of water. However, lawns can survive a lot of browning.
According to Public Works Director Larry Famuliner, Farmington City gets the majority of its water through city-owned wells. Most city residents, over 95%, can access Benchland or Weber Basin Water Conservancy District irrigation water.
At the city council meeting July 6, the council passed an ordinance to deal with water shortages. The new law is identical to a temporary ordinance passed two years ago. This ordinance will be permanent since it appears that water shortages will be reoccurring.
The ordinance does not specify restrictions. City staff, the state engineer or water districts will determine that a water shortage has occurred and make recommendations to the city council through the city manager, and then the city council will decide if the recommended restrictions should be enforced.
It is important to note that no one will be fined without first being warned of a violation.
The ordinance is headlined as follows:
AN ORDINANCE OF THE CITY COUNCIL OF FARMINGTON CITY ADOPTING WATER SUPPLY SHORTAGE AND DROUGHT CONDITION MEASURES FOR THE PROTECTION OF AVAILABLE WATER SUPPLY AND QUALITY THEREOF FOR DOMESTIC INDOOR USE, PUBLIC HEALTH AND FIRE PROTECTION, WHILE MINIMIZING WATER SHORTAGES AND OTHER WATER SUPPLY EMERGENCIES.
Summarizing the ordinance:
Farmington requires the installation of secondary water for outdoor watering.
Due to existing drought conditions watering restrictions are necessary to protect public health and safety.
Culinary water (water from the city wells) is not sufficient to provide for outdoor watering as a supplement or in place of secondary water.
The ordinance provides for three stages of water restrictions:
Stage 1 - ADVISORY
In the advisory stage, public education will be conducted through the mail, newspaper, and public service announcements advising water users to conserve water. No penalties will be imposed.
Stage 2 - MODERATE
The Moderate stage will demand a reduction of water use. No outdoor use of culinary water will be permitted unless specifically approved by the city.
Stage 3 - CRITICAL
The Critical stage will demand dramatic reduction in order to preserve a critical water supply. This will be done in case of natural disaster, well failure, reservoir failure, contaminated system, extreme drought, or other unforeseen situations.
The City Manager will recommend to the City Council when to implement this ordinance and the City Council will decide which stage will be implemented at a City Council meeting.
A first violation will result in a warning. A second will receive a fine of not more than $100 and possible disconnection of culinary (house water) until the violation is corrected and the fine is paid. A third offense may result in a fine not to exceed $200 and also disconnection of culinary connection after the fine is paid and a waiting period of two days.