Water

Is your water restricted? For north Utah County, it probably is

2013-06-21T00:30:00Z 2014-03-26T15:10:32Z Is your water restricted? For north Utah County, it probably isCathy Allred - Daily Herald Daily Herald
June 21, 2013 12:30 am  • 

In case you haven't noticed, there is a shortage of water in Utah Valley.

One by one, north Utah County cities are imposing mandatory outdoor watering restrictions as rivers, streams and reservoirs become depleted.

American Fork city leaders will vote on whether or not to make water conservation measures mandatory at its city council meeting on June 25. 

"It is something that has been discussed," Melanie Marsh, American Fork administrative services director, said. What the city has to do each year is enact a resolution to make violating the water conservation measures a misdemeanor. 

Residents will be given warnings if they violate what would become a mandatory water restrictions law. 

"Two fliers were sent to residents. We understand not everyone reads those, you know junk mail goes in the trash," American Fork public works director Dale Goodman said. 

The next step after a warning would be to issue a citation for a second violation.  

"And a fine which can be determined by a judge, I presume," he said. 

"If they persist in violating water restrictions, we would lock out their water, and they wouldn't have any irrigation water," Goodman said. 

American Fork runs on two water systems -- one for drinking and household water, the other for watering lawns. Goodman said if the residents' irrigation water is locked, they could use their culinary water.

"Nothing we can do about that, but they are paying by the gallon for the drinking water," he said. 

American Fork City has a plentiful supply of potable water obtained more than 100 years ago called American Fork Springs, but it is the irrigation water that is getting low. Currently, the Provo River Water Users Association is giving American Fork 30 percent of what would be considered usual. In 2011, another drought year, the association gave the city 60 percent of its share. 

The primary source for American Fork irrigation is the American Fork River. 

"One of the problems is you have two low years. They are almost identical in snow fall," said Howard Denney, city engineering services manager.

In 2011, the valley had a record-breaking year for snow pack to feed rivers and streams during melt off.

A good year only goes so far, though, and now in the second year of a drought water levels are exacerbated by dry soil and foliage acting as sponges preventing the same melt off supplying valley water as in 2012.

Should American Fork city council members approve a resolution to make water restriction mandatory, residential users with sprinkler systems would water between the hours of 6 p.m. to 10 a.m. and large users -- parks, the cemetery, schools, churches and large commercial development -- would water between the hours of 9 a.m. to 7 p.m.

Landscape watering would also depend on one's home address. Those with odd-numbered addresses would be allowed to water on Mondays, Wednesdays and Fridays; even-numbered addresses on Tuesdays, Thursdays and Saturdays. Anyone could water on Sundays.

"As surface water flows change, these watering times and schedules may have to be adjusted and restrictions imposed. Please check back often for further information," reads the American Fork notice on the city website at afcity.org.

Pleasant Grove

The first city in north Utah County to impose mandatory water restrictions was Pleasant Grove which also has culinary and secondary irrigation systems

"What we have done this year is step up our enforcement, but it's all about education," Pleasant Grove Mayor Bruce Call said.

"We are very grateful to our public works director, Lynn Walker, and our water engineer, John Schiess. As a council, we are extremely grateful to them for beginning very early in the water year to look ahead and see where water levels might be," Call said.

The water schedule is odd addresses, Mondays, Wednesdays, Fridays; even are Tuesdays, Thursdays, Fridays; Sundays are for non-residential large users only -- churches, schools and city services. The first violation merits a warning, the second will be cited with fines.

"It's really gone very well, it's a simple matter of education," he said. "I tell you we have had to impose very few fines, because they know what we know and they are happy to comply. Really people want to do the right thing."

He said the city's supply of drinking water is fine, simply because unlike Lehi residents, Pleasant Grove water users do not use culinary water on their lawns.

Lehi

Earlier this week, secondary irrigation reservoirs in Lehi ran dry and illegal watering with culinary water caused the wells that supply drinking water to fall alarmingly low. Officials have imposed mandatory water restrictions for that city with heavy fines for violators.

"Residents have been great in their response, and by and large people are cooperating with the conservation measures. As of this morning, we have increased our water levels. We are not out of the woods yet, but we are trending in the right direction," said Robert Ranc, Lehi assistant to the city administrator.

Lehi residents are asked to water Mondays, Wednesdays and Fridays if they live at an odd-numbered address; and Tuesdays, Thursdays and Saturdays for even-numbered addresses between 6 p.m. to 10 a.m. Sundays are for spot watering only. Watering with culinary water is prohibited.

Highland

Highland City also has mandatory water restrictions as of June 18. The city's secondary irrigation water supply has been cut 70 percent, as have the other municipalities. Residents of Highland with even-numbered addresses are asked to water on Mondays, Wednesdays and Fridays; odd-numbered are Tuesdays, Thursdays and Saturdays. Sunday watering is not allowed and recommended outdoor watering is from 10 p.m. to 6 a.m.

Violators in Highland will be given a written warning. Second violations will result in secondary water being locked off. More on the restrictions can be found at highlandcity.org.

Alpine

Alpine's mandatory restrictions were approved on June 11. Residents with odd-numbered addresses water Mondays, Wednesdays and Fridays; evens are Tuesdays, Thursdays and Saturdays during the hours of 8 p.m. to 8 a.m. First offence is a warning, second offense results in the irrigation service locked.

Cedar Hills

There are no mandatory watering restrictions as yet for Cedar Hills residents.

"We're in pretty good shape," city spokesman Mike Carson said.

Staff have posted on the city's website a cautionary notice to residents and asked them to limit water usage to three days per week during appropriate times of the day. More water conservation guidelines can be found on the city's website at www.cedarhills.org.

Lindon

Lindon City is also watching the water flow.

"We have not imposed water restrictions yet. Depending on how the summer goes, we may have to," Lindon Mayor Jim Dain said. "We haven't had any problems."

Saratoga Springs

The city of Saratoga Springs is built on a double water system of culinary and secondary irrigation. City staff are encouraging voluntary water conservation measures.

"We don't have any mandatory water restrictions, what we have is voluntary," said Owen Jackson, Saratoga Springs public relations.

Eagle Mountain

Outside the valley in Eagle Mountain, city officials are monitoring the water supply. The city has five wells and has a standing ordinance that prohibits use of residential sprinkler systems between the hours of 10 a.m. and 6 p.m.

"I checked with our water department this morning, and they said we have a good water supply for the summer months," said Linda Peterson, Eagle Mountain public relations.

cathy-allred
-- Cathy Allred covers 11 cities and towns in north Utah County and is responsible for Our Towns announcements. Send your school, civic, city and business news to northutahcountynews@gmail.com for Daily Herald publication. You can follow her blog at NorthUtahCounty.com.
Read more from Cathy Allred here.

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