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Salt Lake City mayor issues water advisory, warns of possible shortage

By Katie McKellar, Deseret News | Posted - Apr. 11, 2018 at 7:02 a.m.

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SALT LAKE CITY — After a winter of below-average snowfall, Salt Lake City Mayor Jackie Biskupski is warning of a possible water shortage and calling on city residents to conserve as much as possible.

The mayor on Tuesday officially declared a Stage 1 advisory as part of the city's five-stage water shortage contingency plan. Stage 1 directs the city to inform the public "as early as meaningful data are available that a possible shortage may occur," according to the plan.

While the current overall water supply is good due to strong reservoir levels, stream flow is projected to be well below average in all Wasatch Mountain streams that feed Salt Lake City's water supply, city public utility officials said in a news release Tuesday.

"At Stage 1, our goal is to send a message that everyone can help us avoid potential shortages this season and in future drought years by simply being mindful about their water use," Laura Briefer said. "We are asking residents, businesses, and city departments to implement simple and cost-effective measures to conserve water."

City officials are asking residents to help conserve water by taking these steps:

  • Sign up for a free water check to ensure efficient watering habits. Utah State University's Extension program provides free water check information at • Adjust sprinkler controllers to reflect the season and the weather, including shutting off during rainstorms.
  • Check sprinkler systems for broken or misaligned spray heads.
  • Check indoor faucets and fixtures for leaks and repair them promptly.
  • Take advantage of the city's water-saving tips and landscape information at

City departments are doing their part, Briefer said, by cutting back on outdoor watering and testing equipment for maximum watering efficiency as temperatures rise.

Salt Lake City Fire Marshall Ryan Mellor has ordered firefighters this spring and summer to conduct "dry" fire hydrant inspections only to assess whether they are in working order, said fire department spokeswoman Audra Sorensen.

"Rather than opening up hydrants in this low-water year, we will inspect and lubricate hydrant caps, inspect their paint and check to make sure hydrants have proper clearance," Sorensen said.

The city's public services department will also "actively monitor water use" in city parks and facilities, said Corey Rushton, the department's communications and administrative services director, encouraging residents to report broken irrigation systems in city parks via the SLC Mobile app.

City public utility staff will also work with city golf course staff and Utah State University to develop water conservation plans by testing improved turf types that reduce water demand, Briefer said.

"Our findings should also help other property owners," Briefer said.

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