SALT LAKE CITY (ABC4) – As the state of Utah continues to experience a drought – 100% of the state is experiencing moderate drought, and 90% of the state experiencing extreme drought – Salt Lake City officials are preparing to give an update on the city’s water conservation.
Because of the mountain snowpack and stream flows projected to be well below average this spring, Mayor Erin Mendenhall has declared Stage 1 Advisory for water conservation in keeping with Salt Lake City’s Five-stage Water Shortage Contingency Plan.
“We want to invite and encourage everyone in our City, as well as the other municipalities we serve, to look at ways to reduce their water use, increase their water use efficiency and eliminate any water waste,” Mayor Mendenhall says. “We can prevent any serious shortages for the rest of the year through conservation by planning and preparing now, today.”
Officials say stream flow in locacl creeks that help supply water to Salt Lake City’s service area is anticipated to be 43-61% of average this year, based on data collected by the Salt Lake City Department of Public Utilities.
While regional snowpack has improved since early February to about 75% in the Central Wasatch Watershed, soil moisture is exceptionally low, contributing to inefficient spring runoff.
The canyon watersheds east of the City provide nearly 60% of the water supply to more than 360,000 residents.
On March 17, Governor Spencer Cox issued an Executive Order declaring a state of emergency in Utah.
The City’s Stage 1 Advisory is educational and meant to inform the community of best conservation practices to stretch the water supply in high-demand season.
According to officials, the Water Shortage Contingency Plan outlines five water shortage stages triggered by supply levels, stream flows, and water demand.
The Water Shortage Contingency Plan outlines five water shortage stages triggered by supply levels, stream flows, and water demand; it also provides recommendations for actions within each stage aimed at reducing water demand to levels that reflect current supply and future water needs.
“Stage 1 is voluntary, with the goal of sending a message that everyone can help us avoid potential shortages this season and in future drought years by simply being mindful about their water use,” says SLCDPU Director Laura Briefer, who advises the Mayor on contingency stages. “We are asking residents, businesses, institutions, including City departments, to implement simple and cost-effective measures to conserve water.”
Mayor Mendenhall says city departments and divisions will be mindful in reducing outdoor water and in testing equipment for maximum watering efficiency as temperatures rise.
The Salt Lake City Fire Department will also take part in conservation measures by conducting “dry” fire hydrant inspections only to assess proper working order for fire flows.