Dry Times | Urban Living

Wednesday, June 8, 2022

Dry Times

Posted By on June 8, 2022, 4:00 AM

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Summer in the Northern Hemisphere begins on Tuesday, June 21, but many have already begun to enjoy it—heading out to Utah's great outdoors or else nesting at home in their yards and gardens. Sadly, the 20-year-plus megadrought of the Southwest U.S. is ongoing. Even with the occasional rainstorms that come our way, we all need to hunker down and commit to conserving water.

Utahns have some of the cheapest water bills in the country, and it's my humble opinion that if we were charged more for our water, we might get serious about conserving this precious gift of life.

I've checked out numerous websites to learn about saving water. One of them—slcgardenwise.com—is my favorite. Here are a few tips from my research:

•If you use fertilizer, apply as little as possible on your lawn and gardens to get the job done. Make sure the fertilizer stays on the landscape and doesn't run off into the gutters and pollute downstream.

• It's suggested we water our lawns between the hours of 10 p.m. and 8 a.m.—especially when there's no wind, because water can be lost to evaporation when it's windy.

• More harm is caused to plants and grass from overwatering than underwatering.

• Don't cut your grass too short. Taller grass doesn't need as much water and tends to have healthier root systems. The longer the blades, the deeper the roots.

• Use the right kind of sprinklers and irrigation systems for your landscape.

• Consider water-efficient landscaping: Plant things that have similar water needs.

Other helpful websites include Utah State University's cwel.usu.edu to help you plan for water-wise yards. And for tree care, visit www.slc.gov/parks/urban-forestry/

If you have a lawn or are thinking of putting one in, research what type of grass grows well in your zone. We all love Kentucky bluegrass in northern Utah, but there are new seed types that require less water.

Drought-affected cities like Las Vegas have gone so far as to require property owners to remove their turf, patch by patch. We haven't outlawed lawns in Utah, but Washington County's leaders are setting waterwise standards on new developments—from indoor appliances and car washes to how much lawn new homes can have.

The county gets most of its water from the Virgin River, which some believe is unreliable. The county has been seeking approval for a 140-mile water pipeline from Lake Powell to rapidly growing Washington County, but that plan is up in the air since the lake is drying up so fast.

To learn how to protect Utah's water resources and find out about rebates to "flip your strip," visit slowtheflow.org.

There doesn't seem to be an end in sight for our Western drought. We can all do our part to save water—from simply not expecting water to be served at restaurants unless requested by guests or by consciously trying to not overwater our lawns and gardens and to conserve water where we can.

About The Author

Babs De Lay

Babs De Lay

A full-time broker/owner of Urban Utah Homes and Estates, Babs De Lay serves on the Salt Lake City Historic Landmark Commission. A writer and golfer, you'll find them working as a staff guardian at the Temple at Burning Man each year.

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