Residents need to be more conservative when watering outside
By Myrna Trauntvein
Residents of Nephi need to be a bit more conservative when it comes to using water for outside landscape irrigation purposes.
Residents need to remember the time of day outdoor watering restrictions ordinance and work to be in compliance.
"We are using the city wells to supplement our water supply," said Randy McKnight, city administrator. "So far, we are keeping up with water use but just barely."
It is hoped that residents will help out by observing the watering schedule.
Residents of Nephi are asked to water only between the hours of 6 p.m. and 10 a.m., which means residents need to water in the evenings and in the early morning.
McKnight said the ordinance helps boost the water supply during the daytime hours.
"The time of day restriction seems to be the best type of control," he said. "The city departments are all on notice."
The Jones Well is pumped each year to pay back the water resource to Nephi Irrigation Company which operates the secondary water system. The well water goes to the pond and replaces water used by the city from springs earlier in the year.
The exchange allows the city residents to drink the spring water, which has a better flavor, and use the well water, later in the year, to replace the irrigation water for the secondary system and for crop irrigation.
The irrigation company is also requesting the compliance of those who are on the secondary irrigation system. The same time of day watering schedule will be encouraged by the company for residential watering.
Using water in the evening, rather than the daylight hours, allows the city, additionally, to stay off the electric peak by pumping water. Peak electric rates are higher.
"When we pump the Equipment Shed Well," said McKnight, "we use some in the culinary system and some in the irrigation company pond.
Watering of outside landscaping is prohibited except at the specified time of day.
However, there are exceptions. The ordinance does not apply to those who have new lawns that require frequent irrigation for establishment purposes within 90 days of planting; short cycles required for testing, inspecting, and maintaining irrigation systems; and other situations as permitted by the city.
The city ordinance states that: "Research has shown that irrigating only during the hours of 6 p.m. to 10 a.m. significantly increases irrigation efficiency."
McKnight said that he hoped that the time of day restriction would make it so that no further restrictions on water use would need to be imposed during this drought year.
The governor's initiative suggested that no one should water between 10 a.m. and 6 p.m., according to the Division of Water Resources.
According to "Utah's M & I Water conservation Plan," 67 percent of residential water supply is used for outdoor watering. Indoor water use accounts for only 33 percent.
Summer lawn watering creates large demands on local water utilities. Water supply treatment and storage facilities are often built larger to supply additional demands created by lawn watering. This extra capacity is not used for most of the year and adds significant costs to the design, construction and operation of a water system.
Water customers and communities can save money by using water more efficiently.
The most efficient time of day to water is late evening and early morning (between 10 p.m. and midnight or 4 a.m. and 9 a.m.). Water during the cool part of the day to minimize water lost to evaporation. It generally is less windy, cooler and more humid at this time, resulting in less evaporation and more efficient use of water.
Water pressure is generally better and this results in optimal distribution patterns.
Local watering restrictions are necessary due to limited treatment capacity and reduced water supplies caused by drought conditions. Water efficient lawn watering practices can help reduce the need for watering restrictions and expensive expansions to the water system.
Violation of the ordinance is a Class C misdemeanor, which is in part designated by state law. Violations of Class C misdemeanors are punishable by a fine of up to $750.
The ordinance becomes effective each spring on the Tuesday before Memorial Day.