WEST JORDAN, Utah — The Jordan Valley Water Conservancy District is asking all of its customers to cut their water use by at least 10%. That's both indoor and outdoor use.
"We’re not seeing the snowpack levels we’ve seen," said Linda Townes Cook, a spokesperson for the district.
The district, which provides water for a majority of the Salt Lake Valley, said the cuts are to stretch the water supply a little further.
"We’re asking people to water two times a week, no more. We’re asking for a 10% cut. If they simply do that, it’ll get us there and then some," Townes Cook said.
The Jordan Valley Water Conservancy District is one of Utah's largest water suppliers. The cuts mirror those imposed by the Weber Basin Water Conservancy District, which provides water to people further north.
Utah's ongoing drought emergency is becoming even more visible. In southwestern Utah, the Washington County Water Conservancy District recorded its driest May in 127 years. The Great Salt Lake has dropped another foot-and-a-half, the Utah Department of Natural Resources told FOX 13 News, and is flirting with a new historic low. Agriculture producers have seen their irrigation cycles restricted state wide.
In remarks on Wednesday calling on businesses to make landscaping changes to save water, Governor Spencer Cox called for longer-term measures as the mega-drought stretches on.
"As one of the driest states in the country, we need to become more drought resilient. So not just the short-term actions, but longer-term actions as well," he said.
Jordan Valley water officials say the cuts being requested of residents are actually easy to do.
"Outdoor is where we see the big savings. Because every time you water, you can use 1,500 to 3,000 gallons and I don’t think people realize that much water is going on lawn," Townes Cook said.
Cutting indoor use by 10% can be made up by simple things like turning off a faucet when brushing your teeth, taking shorter showers, waiting to do laundry until there's a larger load of clothes and filling a sink with water to hand-wash dishes instead of letting the faucet run.
Residents FOX 13 News spoke with on Thursday said they were willing to make the cuts.
"I think cutting back on water is essential," said Barbie. "I think it’s very do-able. It means changing expectations on how our lawn is going to look."
Ellie said she would make cuts.
"I think that is pretty do-able," she said. "I think it just is a team effort if everyone does a little bit."
Utahns have responded in a big way to incentives for water conservation. The Jordan Valley Water Conservancy District said they have recorded a 750% increase in applications for water saving programs. Depending on where people live, there is money available to replace lawns with drought-friendly landscaping and even water-efficient toilets.
Townes Cook said the district is confident in the availability of water this year.
"Next year? If we don’t get good snowpack? Next year could be really, really extreme in our requests," she said.
This article is published through the Great Salt Lake Collaborative, a solutions journalism initiative that partners news, education and media organizations to help inform people about the plight of the Great Salt Lake—and what can be done to make a difference before it is too late. Read all of our stories at greatsaltlakenews.org.