Drought Response Actions
Extreme drought calls for extreme water-saving measures, ban on fireworks for 2021.
“All indicators show this could be the worst drought year on record. Utah state government is leading the way by cutting back on water use at all state facilities, but all of us – from private businesses to local governments to individuals – need to conserve water now more than ever.” Gov. Spencer J. Cox
2021 Fireworks, Explosive Devices, and Open Flames Prohibited in SSL
Restrictions in place through the 2021 Fire Season. Read Resolution No. R2021-07
2021 Challenge to Reduce Outdoor Watering in SSL
60% of residential water use in Utah is for outdoor watering. A single lawn watering for the average quarter-acre lot here uses 3,000 gallons of water. Eliminating even one a week watering adds up and South Salt Lake encourages all residents and businesses to reassess and change watering habits this year.
While we don’t know how long this drought will last, what is in our control is how we respond, and what we do as individuals, families, businesses, institutions and industries to conserve water anywhere we can. A great resource for conservation tips, rebates and support is ConserveWaterUtah.gov.
Current drought conditions
- 100% of the state is in drought. We are preparing for exceptionally poor to (potentially) worst-on-record water supply conditions this summer.
- Utah’s drought conditions are worse than most of us have seen in our lifetime. As a result, Gov. Cox shifted the focus to “drought response actions,” which are more urgent, rather than “water conservation measures,” which are always best practices.
- While we have experienced droughts in the past, the intensity and the fact that we haven’t had any recent relief have created this extreme situation. 2020 was the driest year on record and one of the hottest. This led to record dry soils.
- Our snowpack was dismal (topping out at 81% and peaking 10 days early), and record dry soils soaked up what little runoff we received. As a result, streams statewide are flowing at less than 50% of normal.
Simple Things You Can Do
- Check your irrigation system. Irrigation systems can waste a lot of water if they are set wrong - it’s an all too common problem. So take the time to learn all the timer features (multiple start times and different programs in addition to different stations), observe if it is going off as expected and then adjust. Check for leaks and fix breaks, too.
- Water less. Our lawns will survive with two waterings per week in northern Utah. It’s okay if the grass yellows. Grass will enter dormancy during times of drought and will bounce back when conditions improve. Follow the Extreme Drought Watering Guide
- Prioritize your watering. Water trees, shrubs and perennials before annuals and grass. Larger plants are a bigger investment and require less water. In addition, the shade from your tree reduces your lawn’s water needs. All trees need water, especially in park strips.
- Wait to plant. Wait for fall to lay new sod or establish new plants. They will be happier, healthier, and a lot less thirsty.
- Raise your mower. Set your blades to 3 to 4 inches. Taller grass means deeper roots and also shades the soil surface, reducing evaporation.
- Small changes add up. Visit slowtheflow.org and Drought.Utah.Gov for more conservation tips.