Conservation of water has become an important issue throughout Utah. As Utah is the third-driest state in the nation, following only Nevada and Arizona, water is not at a surplus.
It might surprise you to discover that Utah is ranked first in per capita use of public water (county and city water). Utah also ranked second in the nation in domestic water use per capita. These two categories specifically deal with water used for indoor and outdoor household purposes, such as bathing, washing clothes, dishes and watering the lawn. With such high water use and such little precipitation, conservation of water is needed for our state.
Utah’s goal since 2000 is to reduce water consumption 25% by 2025. We are currently at 18%. Utah consumes around 240 gallons of water per person per day, and 40% of Utah’s water is used on landscapes rather than indoors. While there are little tricks that you can do around the house to help conserve water, probably the best place to start is your lawn. If you watered your lawn one day less each week, you could reduce your water consumption by 10-15%.
For lawn care, there is too much of a good thing. Many throughout Utah water their lawns too much and for too long. Besides the wasteful use of water, overwatering can damage your lawn by limiting root depth, increasing insect activity, nutrient mis-absorption, and creating an ideal environment for fungus and molds that should not even exist in our arid state. Want help ensuring you are watering the correct amount? The Extension office in Cache County has some tools and programs to help you improve your lawn-watering practices and is offering free water checks to Cache County residents.
A water check is a collaborative program designed by the Cache Water District and USU Extension to offer a free sprinkler system consultation. The purpose of a water check is to educate homeowners on how to water landscapes more efficiently. This includes identifying repairs and improvements that could be made to the sprinkler system, providing water conservation tips, conducting a site walkthrough, conducting pressure, soil and water output tests, as well as preparing an irrigation schedule for the residence.
After the initial assessment and evaluation, participants will be given educational handouts related to topics such as low-water-use landscaping, drip irrigation, and plants that are well-suited to Utah’s climate.
Colten Smith, an Extension employee, takes the lead on many of these water checks. “We look for common problems that are pretty simple to fix — dry spots, tilted, broken or mismatched sprinkler heads,” he says. “We always ask residents what they want to accomplish with this water check. Whether it’s saving water and money or improving lawn health, we do what we can to help them out.”
If you are interested in signing up for a water check, or want more information, please call the Cache County Extension office at (435)752-6263. We would be happy to help you.