Saratoga Springs receives water usage award

Members of the Saratoga Springs Public Works Department pose with the Rural Water Association of Utah System Resource Efficiency Award the city received recently.

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Saratoga Springs receives water usage award

The Rural Water Association of Utah recently awarded the city of Saratoga Springs the System Resource Efficiency Award for implementing a secondary water metering system that decreased irrigation water usage by 30 percent.

“We are proud to receive this award,” said Mayor Jim Miller. “It shows the ingenuity of city staff and our commitment in Saratoga Springs to be good stewards over our limited water resources here in Utah.”

To encourage residents and businesses to lower their water usage, the Saratoga Springs switched from a flat-rate system where all users were charged the same fee, regardless of the amount of water used, to a tiered system that charged customers in thousand-gallon increments, based on lot size, landscaped area and the water rights allocated to each property. In addition, the city lowered the base rate that is charged each month to cover fixed costs.

During the first year of implementation, citywide irrigation water usage by residents and businesses decreased from nearly 1 billion gallons in 2015 to less than 800 million gallons in 2016 — a 21 percent decrease — despite rapid growth. The average usage per customer decreased by 27 percent among residents and businesses.

“Through a metered system, the city is not only encouraging greater water conservation among our residents and businesses, we are ensuring that those who use beyond their allotment pay for their overuse and no longer infringe on the water rights of other property owners,” Miller said.

The total project cost to install the needed 4,000 meters throughout the city was approximately $3.6 million. The project was funded through a bond, which is repaid through the revenues generated by metering secondary water.

Grants available for records preservation

The Utah State Archives and Records Service, in cooperation with the Utah State Historical Records Advisory Board, has grant funding available to nonprofit cultural heritage organizations and local governments for historical records preservation projects.

Funding can be used to help Utah repositories preserve at-risk, historic records and to provide access to important collections. These grants are intended for short-term projects. Grants of up to $7,500 are offered this year. All grants must contain a public access component, such as posting digital images online or creating an online finding aid or index. Grant funding comes from the National Historical Publications and Records Commission, which is the granting arm of the National Archives.

All grants require a one-to-one in-kind and/or cash match, and grant work cannot begin until July 11. All work must be completed by June 26, 2019. Applications are required and must be received by April 13. The grant guidelines and application are available at https://archives.utah.gov/USHRAB/forms.html.

Gas company gives to Butterfly Biosphere exhibit

Thanksgiving Point will open its fifth venue in January 2019, the Butterfly Biosphere. With a donation of $250,000, Dominion Energy is sponsoring Costa Rican Climber Lab Zone, one of more than 50 new exhibits inside the Butterfly Biosphere.

“Over the past 20 years, we have all watched Thanksgiving Point metamorphose into a beautiful community space of entertainment, education, enjoyment and reflection,” said Craig Wagstaff, Dominion Energy president of gas distribution. “Dominion Energy is once again proud to join the many other generous contributors that have helped make this one of Utah’s special places.”

The Butterfly Biosphere is under construction in the former Emporium building, north of the iconic Thanksgiving Point Water Tower. It will offer an entirely new and unique experience for patrons of all ages who visit. Guests will learn about the entire lifecycle of a variety of butterflies and engage in ways never before imagined. There are currently less than 30 such butterfly museums in North America.

“This partnership with Dominion Energy expands a wonderful relationship with Thanksgiving Point,” stated Mike L Washburn, CEO of Thanksgiving Point. “We are thrilled to build these important relationships with local companies as we usher in the Butterfly Biosphere.”

Alpine district to host Battle of the Books for students

Students will face off on March 24 and 26 in Alpine School District’s annual Battle of the Books competition. Students read 20 books to prepare for the competition, which includes more than 9,000 students. Teams of five students will represent 44 elementary and eight secondary schools.

Elementary school students will compete at 9 a.m. March 24 at American Fork Junior High School. Secondary students will compete at 2:15 p.m. March 26 at American Fork Junior High School.