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It's time to conserve water

What earlier was a plea to conserve water may soon become mandatory.

That's the likely aftermath of a meeting of Utah water managers. A drier-than-expected winter has resulted in a reduced snowpack in northern Utah, which means a less than normal spring runoff. That also means reservoirs will not adequately be replenished.

While northern Utah is not in a crisis, another poor water year could change that, particularly in those areas where reservoirs will begin the next water year already with low levels. Therefore, LeRoy Hooton, Salt Lake City's public utilities director, is going to recommend to Mayor Rocky Anderson that no outside watering be allowed from 10 a.m. to 6 p.m.

Because of the sparse snowpack conditions, the Provo River Water Users Association, which normally releases 100,000 acre-feet of water from Deer Creek Reservoir annually, is planning on only releasing 60,000 acre-feet of water this year.

As this page has noted previously, water conservation is something all people should practice regularly, not just when there is a crisis. It is easy to take water for granted. Turn on a tap and out it comes. While shaving or brushing teeth, people find it easy to just let the water run and run. The same applies to showers. Instead of taking just a few minutes to get clean, people find it relaxing to stay in a shower considerably longer than is necessary.

Conserving water is more a mindset than anything else. Commitment is the key. The same applies to energy conservation and the habit of turning off unused lights, etc.

Regardless of how much water there is, it needs to be viewed as a precious resource, particularly in a desert where rainfall is unreliable.

Leaky faucets and broken water pipes can result in considerable waste. Those who have one or both of those problems should get them fixed immediately.

Other ways to conserve water include:

— Using the dishwasher and washing machine only when they are full.

— Not cutting the grass too short. Longer grass holds water better.

— Keeping a container of water in the refrigerator for drinking instead of running the faucet until the water cools.

Whatever methods are used to conserve water, the realization that water must be conserved is the critical component of any effort.