American Fork officials are considering implementing a “drought plan” as the state experiences record-high June temperatures and “exceptionally poor” water supply conditions.
American Fork City Administrator David Bunker brought up the drought plan during an American Fork City Council meeting on Tuesday. He said officials will discuss the plan in greater detail during an upcoming work session.
The city administrator referenced an executive order that Gov. Spencer Cox issued on Tuesday requiring lawn watering at state facilities in northern Utah to be reduced to two days per week. Cox signed two drought-related executive orders earlier this year.
The executive order states that “these extreme drought conditions are adversely and significantly impacting agribusiness and livestock production, as well as wildlife and natural habitats,” and that “increased recreation in dry vegetative conditions has contributed to an increased and prolonged threat of wildfire across the state.”
It also states that 100% of the state is in drought and that “the forecast predicts exceptionally poor to (potentially) worst-on-record water supply conditions this summer.” A dry April month “was followed by an even drier May, with an average of 0.3 inches of precipitation accumulated in valley locations.”
“This (executive order) comes on the heels of a pretty poor precipitation month, again, that we’ve had,” Bunker told the American Fork council. “This drought seems to be worsening, not getting better. And the governor is very concerned about the water resources of our state. And so are we in our city, as well.”
In the executive order, the governor called on cities to “immediately consider implementing residential and commercial water restrictions for watering lawns during the current year and develop a supporting enforcement strategy,” as well as to “implement the same practices that are recommended for state facilities at city, county, and institutional buildings.”
“It’s a very important issue that I think we all need to be aware of,” Bunker said.
The city administrator noted that, in American Fork, “we have asked our residents for many years now to conserve water by only watering on certain days, depending on your address, your home address.”
“And that is still enforced,” he said. “We are still asking our residents to only water on certain days depending on their address.”
Weeks ago, Lehi officials implemented restrictions on water use that limit lawn watering to up to three days a week with at least 48 hours between the start of watering cycles. A second violation results in a $100 fine from the city and a third violation results in a $500 fine.
American Fork City Councilmember Kevin Barnes referenced those restrictions during Tuesday’s meeting, lightheartedly stating that “I understand one of our neighboring cities now has the Gestapo going out at night and leaving notes on people’s doors when they’re watering in the night and it’s not their day to water.”
“So I just would encourage everybody, let’s get in this together and get going,” Barnes said about conserving water.
The Utah County Commission declared a state of emergency in Utah County on June 2 in response to the ongoing drought.