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Ogden to issue fines for residents caught watering lawns during heat of the day

A lush, healthy looking lawn may not be a viable option this year, at least in areas covered by Pineview Water Systems.

A lush, healthy looking lawn may not be a viable option this year, at least in areas covered by Pineview Water Systems. (KSL TV)

OGDEN — Citing low water levels at Pineview Reservoir, Ogden officials this week signed a declaration of "moderate water shortage" that enforces fines for those who violate the order.

City officials said outdoor lawn watering is now banned between 10 a.m. and 6 p.m. The ban will be enforced with a $50 fine for first-time violators with repeat offenders receiving potentially steeper fines.

"Lawn irrigation is the largest culprit of water waste," Ogden Water Utility Manager Brady Herd said in a statement Friday. "Overwatering, broken sprinklers and excessive overspray can result in thousands of gallons down the drain. We encourage our residents to call us to get a free sprinkler checkup. We will show them ways to save water while maintaining a healthy lawn."

Herd signed the order Wednesday. It also encourages residential Ogden water users to reduce all water use by at least 5% and all commercial users to cut back at least 15% of use. Other portions of the declaration include:

  • Adjust any irrigation systems to avoid water waste and adjust any watering times based on weather
  • Avoid washing sidewalks or driveways unless there's a health or safety reason
  • Use a cover over swimming pools when not in use and lower the level of the pool 4 inches to minimize water loss caused by splashing
  • Use a positive pressure nozzle when washing vehicles

The order will remain in effect through Oct. 15 unless otherwise reversed by the city. The order states that Pineview Reservoir, as of Tuesday, was just 56% full and that water from snowpack runoff needed to fill the reservoir is "not keeping pace with releases from the reservoir." The reservoir, officials added, provides a "significant amount" of water that's consumed by residents of the city.

Pineview Reservoir is shared by the Pineview Water Systems and the Weber Water Basin Conservancy District. Its low levels prompted concerns from Pineview Water Systems this week, as well. Ben Quick, the service's general manager, said they will run out of water by mid-August if users of the water service consume water at the rate it was last year.

"We really can't be watering for any more than twice a week for residential landscapes," he told KSL TV. "You should only be watering for about 20 minutes with traditional pop-ups, or double that for big rotary heads."

With all of Utah in at least a moderate drought, more than 60% of the state in an "exceptional" drought and a bleak outlook this summer, Gov. Spencer Cox on Thursday called for a weekend of prayer over the situation.

"We need more rain and we need it now," he said. "We need some divine intervention. ... By praying collaboratively and collectively, asking God or whatever higher power you believe in for more rain, we may be able to escape the deadliest aspects of the continuing drought."

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