While Utah County is currently seeing extreme to exceptional drought levels, one city is attempting to crack down on irrigation water usage.
Saratoga Springs City announced Wednesday that it will reduce irrigation water allotments for residential use by 20%, effective July 25, as a part of its Water Usage Response Plan.
Water in the Saratoga Springs irrigation system is metered, and users are charged using a tiered rate structure. This tiered rate structure will be adjusted to encourage residents to use less water. While monthly water costs are estimated to go down for those who reduce water usage to stay within the adjusted allotment, monthly costs may go up for those who don’t reduce their usage.
Any water used before the allotment reduction goes into effect on July 25 will be charged based on the pre-reduced allotment and pre-adjusted tier rate.
“Utah is in an extreme drought and Saratoga Springs is experiencing a reduction in some of the water sources used to provide irrigation water to residents,” reads a press release from the city. “The city is encouraging residents to decrease their irrigation water use by 20 percent to conserve water and save money by avoiding usage fee tiers.”
The city is encouraging residents to reduce the amount of water they use to maintain grass and, instead, save their allotted water for trees, shrubs, and gardens. They also are discouraging residents from installing new landscapes until temperatures begin to cool at the end of September.
According to a release, the Saratoga Springs Parks Department has gradually reduced water use throughout the month of July, reducing the amount of water used in all non-high use areas by 40%. Normal watering schedules were maintained for areas used for recreational programming.
“It is important to maintain turf used for programming for the safety of program participants and to maintain the health of the turf through the damage sustained due to high use.” reads the release. “They will maintain this reduction through the rest of the irrigation season.”
An irrigation calculator is available on the Saratoga Springs City website that has been adjusted to reflect the 20% allotment reduction. Residents can also find the My Water Use Customer Portal on the city website, which allows customers to view water usage reports.
Some Saratoga Springs residents may also be eligible for the Utah Water Savers Flip Your Strip Program, which offers a financial incentive for those who remove well-maintained lawns from park strips in order to replace them with a more water-efficient landscaping design. Removing the lawn from a park strip can save 5,000 to 8,000 gallons of water each year.
In order to be eligible for the program, residents must currently have a living lawn on their park strip, and be in good standing with a participating water provider.
For more information on the Flip Your Strip Program, people can visit https://utahwatersavers.com/Program/2/flip-your-strip#program-overview.