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Utah saved billions of gallons of water through programs, ordinances

Posted at 1:22 PM, Aug 25, 2022
and last updated 2022-08-25 20:01:09-04

SALT LAKE CITY — Utahns have saved billions of gallons of water through conservation programs such as Flip Your Strip and local ordinances that restrict water use, easing shortages caused by the ongoing drought conditions in the state.

Applications for Flip Your Strip — a program that encourages people to remove lawns from park strips for cash — have gone up 200 percent in 2022.

“Efforts to advance water conservation are having a significant impact on our ability to stretch the water supply,” said Joel Ferry, acting executive director of the Department of Natural Resources.

“Utah communities are responding by implementing water-wise ordinances, and residents are turning off their sprinklers and removing unnecessary turf. All of this helps reduce our water use.”

This year's improved soil moisture will help more water get to reservoirs during spring runoff next year, though nearly two-thirds of the state is still considered in extreme drought or worse.

According to the Utah Division of Water Resources, some of the highlights of water conservation include the following:

  • Jordan Valley Water Conservancy District has delivered 1 billion fewer gallons this year compared to this time last year.                          
  • Salt Lake City Public Utilities has seen a 17% reduction so far this year when compared to the last three-year average, translating to 2.5 billion gallons fewer gallons used. 
  • Washington County Water Conservancy District has used 11.5 million gallons fewer this year than last year, despite an increase in connections.
  • Cities in Washington County recently passed the most water restrictive ordinances for new development in Utah, projected to save nearly 11 billion gallons over the next 10 years. 
  • Weber Basin Water Conservancy District’s water deliveries are 27% lower than last year.

Monsoonal rains also continue to have a positive impact on state river flows, and wildfires are down twenty percent this year over last year.