Our View: Serious water-use policy

Thursday , March 06, 2014 - 12:09 PM

Editorial Board

Kudos to the Davis and Weber Counties Canal Co. for getting serious about stopping the excessive use of secondary water in the Top of Utah. The company has locked down the secondary water use of about 150 customers. Weber Basin Water Conservancy District also has announced secondary water-use restrictions.

While this may be tough medicine to provide, it’s the right approach. “Voluntary” pleas for reasonable use of secondary water by customers simply doesn’t work. And it’s not just individuals or private businesses that keep the flow going too long. Just about everybody can relate an anecdote where a public sprinkler is going full blast in the middle of a rainstorm. That kind of water waste should never be tolerated.

The drought is serious, and secondary water should be used constantly thinking of conservation. According to Ivan Ray, general manager of the canal company, Echo and East Canyon reservoirs have half the water that they had last year. As a result, customers are asked to water two days a week for about a half-hour each time. Days are assigned based on the last digit in customers’ addresses. The company also asks customers to water between 6 p.m. and 10 a.m.

While these rules may seem bureaucratic, even intrusive, without them the canal company could run out of water during the summer. That would be a real crisis. On the plus side, more cities in the Top of Utah are making efforts to improve water use in their communities. Kaysville, for example, plans to reduce water use in city parks by 25 percent, says Mayor Steve Hiatt.

The canal company is being fair with its notifications. Customers receive a notice, then a warning, and the third time the water is shut off. After the customer shows he or she can comply and pays a $50 fee, the secondary water service is restarted. So far the rules have had a positive effect. According to Ray, so far this year, the canal has used 1,178 acre-feet of water less than last year.

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