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With water conservancy and usage, Orem says it’s prepared to meet demands of the future

By Genelle Pugmire daily Herald - | Apr 6, 2018
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Casey Finlinson, conservation garden manager at the Central Utah Gardens, walks in front of the model homes at the gardens on Wednesday, April 4, 2018, in Orem. The model home on the right uses about half the amount of water as the house on the left because there is less lawn and more water efficient plants on the right.

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A sign explaining the model homes at the Central Utah Gardens is pictured on Wednesday, April 4, 2018, in Orem.

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Hyacinths are pictured at the Central Utah Gardens on Wednesday, April 4, 2018, in Orem.

All indications show that Orem residents have taken Gov. Gary Herbert’s plea to heart and they are “slowing the flow” when it comes to water usage.

“Every five years, we are required to update and present our plan to the City Council,” said Neal Winterton, Water Resources Division manager.

“Our plan is to reduce gallons per capita per day per person down 25 percent,” Winterton said. “We are on pace, with a few updates with the plan.”

Winterton added that Orem has planned, and done a very good job in, directing water to provide for the needs of its residents.

Orem’s water comes from the High Uintas, Jordenelle and the Provo River. It has two springs that provide 15 percent of the city’s water and nine deep wells that provide 25 percent of the water.

Winterton noted the city’s wastewater treatment plant is doing well and is prepared to reach chemical treatment benchmarks set by the Legislature for 2020 and potentially for 2024.

“Orem’s location is advantageous with mountains nearby,” Winterton said. “Gravity helps us as well.”

Winterton continued and said, “As long as trends continue, Orem is prepared to meet the demands of the future. I am confident in the citizen response to state and district campaigning.”

Orem and the Central Utah Water Conservancy District are working together to bring several resources and ideas to residents on how to use less water while having beautiful, green yards this summer and in the future.

Grass is important to the community, and the CUWCD is encouraging residents to landscape with water conservancy in mind. Landscapes can provide different varieties of grasses and plants if watered properly.

Casey Finlinson, conservation garden manager at CUWCD, invites residents to visit the slow the flow website at http://slowtheflow.org for conservation tips and lawn watering guides.

For those who want to strive to conserve water, they can visit the website and get weekly updates on when to water lawns depending on heat, humidity and precipitation.

Residents are also encouraged to visit http://localscapes.com for free professional help on innovative and practical landscape designs for Utah.

Finlinson also invites the public to the conservancy gardens at 355 W. University Parkway in Orem. There are ideas as residents walk through the gardens on using indigenous plants.

Chris Tschirki, director of Orem’s Public Works, said residents should educate themselves on xeriscaping. Xeriscaping is not the same as no landscaping or no water. Xeriscaping is a landscaping philosophy that uses as many native, drought-resistant plants as possible and arranges them in efficient, water-saving ways.

The CUWCD holds several classes throughout the spring and summer to help residents with garden design ideas and care for Utah water conditions.

The next two classes offered will be:

“Get a Green Lawn” at 10 a.m. April 7; and “Homeowner’s Guide to Saving Water” at 7 p.m. April 11.

UCWCD class registration and information can be found at www.CentralUtahGardens.org.

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