Patrols enforce Weber Basin water restrictions in face of drought

Posted at 9:33 PM, Jun 04, 2013

WEBER COUNTY, Utah – The Weber Basin Water Conservancy District has begun the toughest water restrictions in a decade.

In light of a weak snowpack and minimal runoff, water officials want homeowners to cut back on watering their lawns by one day.

Fifty communities are in the area served by the Weber Basin District, and towns like Kaysville, Layton and Ogden are affected.  Water experts are concerned communities are running out of irrigation water because of a persistent drought.

David Rice is with the Weber Basin District, and he said they are going beyond asking people to conserve by patrolling for violators.

"I oversee all the conservation in the district," Rice said.

He's one of a handful patrolling in five northern Utah counties, looking for those who waste irrigation water. Rice patrolled in South Weber Tuesday.

"So we'll just basically drive through, and it's just a matter of noticing if there's some sprinklers running,” he said. “We just encourage people to not water during the heat of the day, between 10 and 6," Rice said.

Water managers hope residents will water their lawns one day less per week.

"Without major conservation or a major effort, we're not gonna have water for next year," said Scott Paxman, manager at the Weber Basin Water Conservancy District

Paxman said patrollers are more than H2O cops, they're educators too.

"We don't want people to think we're out to get them, we just want them to be more aware," Rice said.

At one South Weber home, Rice handed out a pamphlet on how to conserve after seeing the sprinklers on during the heat of the afternoon.  He said most comply, but for repeat offenders there's a consequence.

"We're gonna give them two warnings,” Paxman said. “We have a database where we keep their name and address and the reasons why they violated, and once they hit that third time, we're gonna shut their water off for the season.

So, there isn't a fine: The consequence is losing your irrigation until October.

Click here for more information and for tips on water conservation.