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Lehi mulling water restrictions amid worsening statewide drought

Lehi mulling water restrictions amid worsening statewide drought

(KSL/file)



LEHI, Utah — Lehi city officials say they're preparing for water restrictions amid the state's worsening drought.

As the calendar flips to June, drought conditions have done little to improve across Utah.

"Understand, right now, that we're heading into one of the worst drought and potentially one of the worst fire seasons that we've seen… and we've seen some bad ones," Gov. Spencer Cox said recently at a press conference. "Let me just state unequivocally, it's really bad. It's as bad as it has ever been."

With that in mind, the Lehi City Council is actively discussing possible water restrictions on activities like lawn watering.

Lehi Public Works Director Dave Norman pointed out in a city council meeting that water levels in the Jordan River Watershed are well below normal and Utah's snowpack is dropping off very quickly this year.

Violators may face hefty fines

He's recommending the city move to the second phase of its "water shortage response and actions," according to the Daily Herald.

In that phase, Lehi residents "may not use sprinkler irrigation on consecutive days" and must wait "at least one day in between water cycles," he said.

The first violation of the phase results in a "hand-delivered written notice of violation and instructions on necessary correction action."

A second violation will result in a $100 fine, although the violator may receive full reimbursement by attending a water conservation seminar provided by the city.

A third violation results in a $500 fine from the city, although Norman told KSL NewsRadio's "Dave and Dujanovic" show that they haven't imposed a fine that large in the five years he's been with the city.

Norman says city workers keep an eye out for water waste, and he cited the example of a local business with a broken sprinkler system that was flooding a parking lot. He said they'll talk to the business owners and urge them to fix the problem.

Do we really need all that grass?

Lawn grass is the thirstiest part of our landscaping in Utah, but maybe we don't need quite so much of it, according to Cynthia Bee with the Jordan Valley Water Conservancy District. She told "Dave and Dujanovic" that grass shouldn't be the default choice.

"Lawn is a recreation surface, and it should be used where it can achieve that purpose, and if it's just a ground cover, there are plenty of other ways to achieve that goal," Bee said.

Norman added that "none of us want brown lawns" in the summer, but that's better than dead lawn if the city gets to a point where zero outdoor watering is allowed.

This story has been edited from its original version to correct missing attribution.

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