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Residents Get Help With Water Conservation

Jun 26, 2015 09:05AM ● Published by James Luke

South Jordan City Water Conservation Coordinator Rick Malloy educated the city council and staff at the study session on May 19 about some rebates and other ways that the city helps residents to save water. Malloy demonstrated some of the resources available at www.watersmartSOJO.org, the city’s new water-wise website that features information and opportunities for residents to save water and money.

The city took on the challenge to reduce water use in South Jordan by 25 percent by 2025, Malloy explained. Since 2000, water use is down 19 percent in the city. Aiming to make up the last 6 percent to meet or exceed the goal, he showed the city council some of the ways that the water conservation staff has been considering to continue the downward trend of water use in the city. 

The challenge is to bring down overall water use locally, while at the same time total population growth continues unabated. The city sees three primary ways to encourage residents to practice good water-saving techniques: education, rates and ordinances. 

The www.watersmartSOJO.org website is designed to focus on the first prong of the equation. “Important information on the site includes rebates that are offered and tips for water conservation,” Malloy told the council. 

Malloy explained some of the details of a program that operates in conjunction with the Utah State University extension. Upon resident request through the website, a water-use consultant will visit residents’ homes and advise them about inefficiencies in their yard’s sprinkler patterns or watering cycles so that they can get optimal results in the garden with minimal water use.

Water rates relate to various factors in South Jordan, as Malloy discussed with the council. Varying from the cost for culinary water that all residents rely on for home use, to the rate for secondary water that is used by about a third of South Jordan residents to water lawns and gardens, water rates depend on costs of the water to the city from the suppliers and other factors. Rates increase at set increments as a customer’s water usage goes up.

Malloy discussed a proposed ordinance that could have a dramatic effect on decreasing water use with future development in the city. He noted that park strips, the rectangle section of property generally found between the sidewalk and the street in most neighborhoods, are notoriously inefficient in water usage. 

The new rule would require new developers to irrigate the park strip with a drip system to avoid wasteful overspray from sprinkler heads. No turf grass would be allowed under the proposed rule, although trees and plantings would be required, with only 25 percent of hardscaping, such as cement, permitted in the park strips of new developments. Savings of 78 percent are possible under the proposed new rule over the water use that is typical of a sprinkler system watering grass in the park strip, Malloy noted.

While there are many factors at play in keeping water usage rates down as population growth continues to surge, the city’s water conservation coordinator directs residents to www.watersmartSOJO.org as a great place to start to find rebates on water-wise household items like showerheads and toilets, as well as much more information and resources for South Jordan residents to get water smart.    
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