West Jordan water conservation and drought planJul 01, 2022 11:45AM ● By Erin Dixon
By Erin Dixon | [email protected]
Eighty-two percent of Utah is in an extreme drought, according to drought.gov. This is the stage where even native plants begin to struggle.
Residents of West Jordan do not get a pass on the drought. The city gets its water from Jordan Valley Water Conservancy District; fees are going up and the drought is going strong.
Increased fees are not simply because water demand is rising, but because JVWCD has trouble keeping employees, like many businesses this year.
Lyle Summers, West Jordan representative on the JVWCD board, reported to the City Council in June that “we’ve had a flow of employees leave for higher paying jobs.”
To keep current employees they are offering pay raises between 7% and 10%.
For most cities, the raises in employee costs and water costs means cities need to pay more for the same amount of water. While other cities are paying another 3.5%, “West Jordan's change in rates is only 2.5%,” Summers said.
“This reflects well on city water operators; how they operate systems during the peak time and using their own sources (city owned water wells) during the hottest time of the year.”
West Jordan City also updated their Drought Management Plan in June from one that had been in place since 2001.
The Plan allows that "Upon meeting or exceeding any one of the trigger conditions, the mayor may, by proclamation, or City Council, by resolution, initiate a drought stage or a stage change….
"In the event of scarcity of water, the mayor may limit the use of water for any purpose as may be required for the public good, as determined by the City Council. In no event may the mayor limit the use of water for domestic purposes (water use inside the home)."
Right now, West Jordan is following the drought stage of JVWCD.
Marie Magers, West Jordan senior digital communication specialist, said, “Whatever Jordan Valley sets for us is what we adhere to. Currently we are in Moderate Stage -1.”
Moderate Stage-1 calls for residents and businesses to use 5-10% less water than they would in a non-drought year.
Compared to May 2021, “we have seen a 28% reduction in water use,” Magers said. “JVWCD says West Jordan is one of the most active cities utilizing Utah Water Savers Programs.”
Those water saving programs include “Flip Your Strip,” old toilet replacement, and free water saving classes and consultations. (For more water conservation programs visit: jvwcd.org/public/conservation)
West Jordan is not the only city that is proactively cutting water usage.
South Jordan charges new developments more than twice the normal cost for water if they don’t use water-efficient standards.
Sandy City (not part of JVWCD) launched the H2O Water Game that residents can play to help them cut water usage one small thing at a time, encouraging visits to the Sego Lily Garden and adding drip irrigation to planting beds.