Sixteen of Utah’s reservoirs are below 20 percent capacity and eight of those are below five percent, according to the Utah Division of Water Resources.
The division says it is time for Utahns to stop watering landscapes this year in order to help save resources for next year.
“Mother Nature has taken care of all of the watering that landscapes are going to need for the rest of the year with the possible exception of Washington County,” said Joshua Palmer, the manager of water efficacy education and engagement at the Utah Division of Water Resources.
On average, Palmer said Utahns use 3,000 gallons each time they water their full landscape.
“We put out that message, that very, very clear message of it’s time to stop watering, because that can save a lot of water,” he said. “The more water we keep in our reservoirs this year, the better of we’re going to be next year. Because we truly are in a drought and we are going to wish we had it next year, especially if we have another bad winter.”
Another winter like 2017 would help the water situation, but Palmer said the problem is one good winter does not make up for years of drought.
“In the long term, if you have five dry years for every one wet year,” he said, “the one wet year doesn’t make up for it. And so what we really need is multiple good years in a row if we are really going to start feeling good about where we are at. And a combination of that and people using water just a whole lot more efficiently.”
Palmer said summer is the most crucial time for Utahns to conserve water and the current reservoir situation is partially due to waste during the warmer months. However, he said Utahns should look for creative ways to conserve during the winter.
“I have some inside plants that we actually water when we clean out the goldfish bowl,” Palmer said. “My kids have some goldfish and when it’s time to clean out that water, we take that nutrient water and we feed some of the indoor plants with it.”