Confused about when to turn your secondary water pump on or off? Wonder no moreApr 15, 2021 10:27AM ● By Mariden Williams
This map illustrates the various secondary water weir zones present in South Jordan. (South Jordan City)
By Mariden Williams | [email protected]
South Jordan has introduced a new text alert program for residents with secondary water. Those who sign up for the program will receive automatic texts whenever it's time to turn the pump on or off, as well as notifications about flow interruptions and any important updates from the canal companies that control the water flow.
Interruptions in secondary water delivery can have many causes. Most are related to the canals losing water for one reason or another, but pump system failures and third-party construction projects can also cause issues. Interruptions generally last for between a few hours to a few days, but in some extreme cases, water delivery has been interrupted for as long as four weeks.
Whatever unexpected bumps may arise, the new text alert program will keep residents updated about what's happening and how to proceed. To sign up for the alert program, all residents need to do is text SJCSECONDARYWATER to the number 85775.
Only about a fourth of South Jordan residents have access to the city’s secondary water system, according to the city website's water information page. There's no signup procedure or anything; you either have it, or you don't. Some years ago, city officials entertained the possibility of expanding the system to the rest of the city but ultimately found that it would be too expensive.
All homes with access to the secondary water system are charged a monthly secondary water fee, regardless of whether they actually choose to use the secondary water. This is because the fees aren’t actually used to pay for the water; they’re just used to pay for the maintenance of the system and for share assessments from the canal companies. In fact, until recently, city officials didn’t even keep track of how much secondary water was being used.
That’s changing, though. According to South Jordan Public Works Operations Support Supervisor Katherine Barlow, city crews are in the process of installing secondary water meters so that secondary water use can be tracked.
"The state has passed a bill that requires municipalities with 5,000 or more connections to meter secondary water usage,” Barlow said. “Residents will not be billed based off of water usage; this is just so the city can have a better idea of how much water is being used and so that we are following state law.”
South Jordan's secondary water is sourced from Utah Lake. That lake water then flows through the Jordan River, and is diverted by four canals: the Welby-Jacob Canal, the Utah Lake Distributing Canal, the Utah and Salt Lake Canal, and the South Jordan canal. Each canal is maintained by a separate company.
Within the city, 26 weir dams divert the water from the canals into the city's secondary water system, which consists of some 178 miles of pipe with, as of late March 2021, 3,734 residential connections.
City officials are responsible for taking care of the pipes up until they hit residential sidewalks, but everything from the sidewalk to the home is the responsibility of the homeowner. The South Jordan Water Department is willing to come to homes with faulty systems and help diagnose what's going wrong, but resolving the issues is up to the homeowner.