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Weber County OKs water-conservation measures for western part of county

By Tim Vandenack - | Oct 4, 2023
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A sprinkler system photographed in action on May 23, 2023, in Ogden.
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A sprinkler system photographed in action on May 23, 2023, in Ogden.

OGDEN -- New development in western Weber County will face stricter landscaping rules going forward.

As a trade-off, homeowners in the unincorporated corners of the area will be able to tap into a Weber Basin Water Conservancy District program that provides financial reimbursement to those who remove water-guzzling turf grass from their lawns.

Weber County Commissioners last week approved the changes, all in the name of water conservation. "It seems like a good use, a good way to save water," said County Commissioner Gage Froerer.

Left out of the equation, though, is the Ogden Valley, the unincorporated area east of Weber County's populated Wasatch Front area. The Western Weber Planning Commission in July recommended the changes that commissioners approved on Sept. 26 while members of the Ogden Valley Planning Commission said they weren't interested. "Obviously, we're going to respect the planning commissions' wishes," Froerer said.

Per the changes for western Weber County, new home development won't be able to have as much irrigated turf grass as before, a move meant to reduce lawn watering, thus conserving the resource. The new rules limit grass to 35% of the front and side lawn areas outside new homes or 3,000 square feet in all, whichever is more expansive. Grass will be limited to 15% of lot areas for new commercial, industrial, institutional and multifamily development.

At the same time, current homeowners in western Weber County will be able to tap into the Weber Basin Water Conservancy District's Flip Your Strip and Landscape Lawn Exchange programs. The incentive programs provide funds to homeowners who change grassy areas to rock or other low-water landscaping -- from $1.25 to $2.50 per square foot of area converted.

Steve Burton, a planner in the Weber County Planning Division, said his office has been fielding calls from western Weber County residents interested in taking part in the programs, already available in numerous locales in Weber and Davis counties.

"Those people in the Ogden Valley, if they decide they want to save water, they'll do it without the reimbursement at this point in time," Froerer said.

The Weber Basin Water Conservancy District water-conservation programs really started gaining traction during the summer of 2022 as the drought that impacted Utah raised awareness about the need to protect water resources.

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