Culinary water outages possible in Lehi by Friday

Posted at 12:50 PM, Jun 19, 2013
and last updated 2013-06-19 17:47:47-04

LEHI, Utah -- Summer is just getting underway and already the city of Lehi is worried about running out of water.  It's all because of the drought.  Some are unable to water their lawns, and the shortage could affect drinking water by the end of the week.

City officials said if residents don't stop watering their lawns with culinary water, there could be culinary water outages by Friday.

Meanwhile, some residents say their irrigation water has already been shut off or greatly reduced.

Jeff Call laid down new sod at his northeast Lehi home last week, but now, "I can't get the sprinklers to come on, there's just  no pressure, the heads won't even come up," Call said.

If his grass dies, Call said he'll lose thousands. Similar concerns are playing out across Lehi, and some homeowners are using the spigots on the sides of their homes to water their homes. That's quickly become a "no-no."

Lehi has enacted an emergency ordinance, saying they'll fine homeowners hundreds of dollars if they use culinary water for their yards. City employees went home-to-home with 13,000 door hangers to spread the message.

"People are frustrated because there's no water but what are we supposed to do? I think the whole state is gonna be under these restrictions before long," said Todd King, a Lehi street maintenance employee

"There are tanks going down at a rate that we will be out of water in certain neighborhoods by Friday if people don't stop using the culinary system to water their lawns," said Lehi city administrator Derek Todd

In light of the drought, water companies forced Lehi to make massive cuts to the irrigation water supply. City leaders insist they didn't see it coming.

"We didn't realize we were going to be cut down to 30 percent, so that's the new information we didn't have. We found that out yesterday (Tuesday)," Todd said.

"I have a hard time believing that because I knew about it last Wednesday," said Lehi homeowner Spence Felsted

On Lehi's website and via social media, the city asked residents to conserve water a week ago, but those voluntary efforts simply weren't enough.

"Clearly we maybe should have done more earlier on because now we're in a crisis situation," Todd said.

Residents are asked to water their lawns only with irrigation water three days a week.  Homes with odd addresses should water Monday, Wednesday and Friday.  Even address homes should water Tuesday, Thursday and Saturday