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St. George residents may only water from dusk till dawn under new restrictions

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Posted at 8:45 PM, Jun 04, 2015
and last updated 2015-06-04 22:45:53-04

ST. GEORGE, Utah - Homeowners in St. George will have to watch the clock when watering their lawns this summer.

Thursday, the St. George City Council approved mandatory daytime water restrictions. Those restrictions prohibit using culinary water for outdoor watering during daytime hours (between 8 a.m. and 8 p.m.).

St. George City conservation coordinator René Fleming said they are restrictions they ask for every year, but particularly during drought years.

“We’re using about 60 percent of our drinking water for irrigating,” Fleming said. “We really want to remind people that they should be watering as efficiently as possible.”

Since the restrictions deal specifically with outdoor culinary water use, places like schools, parks, and golf courses are not affected. They use secondary water.

“Even if we have to have them water all 24 hours in order to get their irrigating done, that’s a more efficient and effective use of our resources than having them irrigate with our high quality, treated drinking water,” Fleming said.

The Washington County Water Conservancy District reports local reservoirs are currently at 42 percent of average. Associate General Manager Barbara Hjelle said while that’s low, it’s enough to provide homes and businesses with drinking water. She said conservation is key to making that water last.

“We’ve already reduced water use in Washington County by about 26 percent,” Hjelle said. “That is just the tip of the iceberg; we are very devoted to continuing this trend.”

That decrease in water use was reported from 2000 to 2010. The water district credits part of that to free water checks. Hjelle said already 1,000 customers have had their lawns audited to see how much water they should be using.

While there aren’t any penalties associated with the mandatory restrictions in St. George, Fleming said they typically see a majority of people in compliance. They see it more as an educational measure. Residents like Floyd Isom said they’re willing to help.

“I think it’s a necessary step,” Isom said. “Because our water levels are down.”

To schedule a free water check, contact the Washington County Water Conservancy District office at (435) 673-3617 or email them at wcwcd@utah.gov.