After a dismal winter and a dry summer, the secondary water supply in the Weber Basin will be shut off early.
Weber Basin Water Conservancy District announced outdoor irrigation will end two weeks early, on Oct. 1. The decision impacts all of the district’s secondary water customers as well as the irrigation companies they work with, from Pineview Water Systems in Weber and Box Elder counties to the Davis and Weber Counties Canal Company.
“We’re trying to maintain as much as we can so we have a little more holdover for next year,” said Darren Hess, assistant general manager with Weber Basin Water.
Northern Utah had a below-average 2018 snow season followed by a parched summer. That has water managers concerned about water supplies for next year.
“The only reason we did so well this season is we had full reservoirs in the spring and such good carryover from 2017,” Hess said. “With this year being so hot and dry and not knowing what the next winter season will bring, we felt it was in the best interest to try and save some water.”
Weber Basin Water reports no anticipated shortages for culinary drinking water. Outdoor irrigation, however, accounts for 65 percent of urban water use in the basin.
Most secondary water customers tend to overwater their landscapes. That has exacerbated shortage issues this season, particularly for Benchland Irrigation customers in Farmington.
Some of Weber Basin Water’s irrigation supply goes to farmers in the region, but Hess said he doesn’t anticipate significant impacts to agriculture.
“Most of your crops are done by the first of October,” he said.
It’s not the first time the outdoor watering season has been cut short due to drought. The district took similar measures in 2013 and 2015, Hess said. He expects homeowners will adjust.
“Most realize their grass will go dormant,” he said. “If that process starts a few weeks earlier, it’s not a huge deal for them.”