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Front Page » July 10, 2003 » Local News » Summer heat compounds drought concerns
Published 3,937 days ago

Summer heat compounds drought concerns


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By KAREN BASSO
Staff reporter


Wise use of water can lead to Carbon County gardens displaying vivid colors and hosting extraordinary plant life even though the entire state of Utah is in the middle of a drought. By following simple water conservation recommendations, residents may keep yards, gardens and landscapes looking attractive while avoiding water waste.

Temperatures continue to rise which means that the current drought conditions in Carbon County are bound to get worse.

The summer heat also means that water conservation is becoming more important for residents to practice.

Although Helper is the only city in Carbon County to pass a mandatory restriction on water usage, all local residents are encouraged to participate in the same conservation efforts.

Currently, Price city residents remain under a voluntary restriction. The voluntary status of the restriction means that water conservation is the responsibility of Price residents.

If problems associated with water start to surface, Price officials have indicated that the city will take action and make the restrictions mandatory.

The exception to the Price city rule is that residents are not allowed to water on Sundays.

The no-watering on Sundays is a practice that is encouraged throughout the county.

When it comes to outdoor water use, the general rule of thumb is that no sprinklers or hoses should be turned on between the hours of 9 a.m. and 6 p.m.

During the designated hours, the heat is greatest and outdoor watering is useless.

Rather than wasting the resource, residents should wait until evening or morning hours to water outdoors when the liquid will be used more efficiently and effectively.

The rule is part of the ordinance that is currently in effect in Helper and is one which county officials encourage all residents to participate in.

The only other prohibited use of water in the Helper city limits is on driveways or walkways.

Instead of using hoses to clean off sidewalks and driveways, Carbon County residents are encouraged to sweep the areas rather than misusing the water.

Other conservation efforts which local residents are encouraged to implement include the following:

•Planting drought-tolerant and regionally adapted plants in areas on private properties that are difficult to water or receive little use. The recommended low-traffic planting areas in yards may include narrow strips near located sidewalks or driveways on the properties.

•Cover outdoor swimming pools, hot tibs or spas to reduce water evaporation.

•Check all outdoor faucets, pipes, hoses and pools for leaks.

If leaks are discovered, promptly repair the damage to outside watering systems.

•Change the lawn mower setting to a three-inch clipping height.

Try not to cut off more than one-third of the grass height when mowing.

•Apply as little fertilizer to lawns as possible.

Applying fertilizer increases water consumption and actually creates more mowing.

To simply green up the appearance of a lawn, use an iron based fertilizer.

•Recycle and reuse water in fountains and other ornamental water fixtures.

•Use a bucket of soapy water to wash a vehicle or simply place a shut off nozzle on the end of the hose.

Also, try to wash vehicles on the lawn rather than a driveway so the water will be of use to the landscape rather than running down a dry cement pad.

•Visually inspect sprinkler systems once a month during daylight hours.

Check and fix any tilted, clogged or broken heads at this time.

Although outdoor watering should be done in the morning or evening, a brief inspection of a sprinkling system during daylight hours proves to be more effective.

•Water a lawn only when the grass needs the moisture.

If a footprint is left in the grass, it usually means that it is time to water.

•Do not water landscaping in the rain or on windy days.

•Make sure that sprinklers spray the designated area to be watered.

If for some reason the sprinkler is adjusted incorrectly, the watering will be of little use. Instead, make adjustments and make sure water is hitting the lawn and not the nearby sidewalk.

•Use a thick layer of mulch around plants and on bare soil surfaces. This reduces evaporation, promotes plant growth and reduces weeds.

Also, weed removal cuts down on excess water consumption due to plant competition.

•Avoid over watering plants. Not only is too much water bad for plants, but it is also wasteful.

•Do not leave running water on brown spots for an extended amount of time. Simply moisten the area enough for the soil to dampen.

By participating in water conservation efforts, Carbon County residents can ensure that there will be enough water to serve the area for the entire year.

Also by conserving water voluntarily, residents may eliminate the need for local government officials to make anymore restrictions mandatory.


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