Drought conditions continue in Washington County

Posted at 7:32 PM, Aug 12, 2013
and last updated 2013-08-13 11:17:33-04

ST. GEORGE – Southern Utah residents are being asked to conserve water due to drought conditions in Washington County.

Although the last month brought several inches of rainfall, the area is still parched for water.

July brought several monsoon storms. Some basins reported between 200 to 250 percent normal levels. Still, reservoirs across the region are at only 60 percent of normal. The Washington County Water Conservancy Districts says while the levels aren’t at a critical state, they’re still alarming.

“It’s concerning when you get these years of dry years stacked back to back,” said WCWCD General Manager Ron Thompson. “And we see our soil moisture conditions across the basin slightly less than last year.”

That’s why city and county water managers are so concerned with conservation.

"Statewide, on average, people water on average about 50 percent more than they need to,” said St. George water conservation coordinator Rene Fleming.

It’s not just watering lawns, although that’s the main culprit. It’s also running dishwashers and washing machines only when they’re full, shortening showers and even turning off lights.

“[Turning off lights is] not just because of energy,” Flemming said. “It’s also an indirect water use, because we use water to generate electricity.”

The WCWCD is looking at ways to tap into additional water resources, namely a pipeline from Lake Powell that would pump water across the state to Sand Hollow Reservoir. A public meeting on Aug. 14 will explore the possibility.  Mostly, Thompson said, it’s up to everyone to look at ways to save the water supply.

“Our motto is ‘Water today, water tomorrow, conservation every day,’” Thompson said. “And I think we need to have a conservation ethic.”

Additional tips on ways to conserve water can be found on the city of St. George’s website:

Public meeting on Lake Powell pipeline project:

When: Thursday, Aug. 15; 4-6pm

Where: Washington County Water Conservancy District, 533 E. Waterworks Drive, St. George