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Lehi to dry up wasteful watering

Residents can water only every other day

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LEHI — Lehi is becoming a dry town.

No, the city's isn't banning liquor — but there's a prohibition on wasteful use of the flowing water that keeps the city's alfalfa fields, gardens and lawns green.

Lehi Mayor Ken Greenwood ordered residents Wednesday to water lawns every other day. He also banned residents from using water to clean sidewalks and driveways, as well.

Culinary water is not affected in the rationing mandate, only the secondary irrigation system — the water used by residents to water gardens and grass.

"We're on our storage water already," said water director Lee Barnes. "It's bad."

The city, in its third year of drought, ordered a rationing last year, but it came about two weeks later in the season.

Because of a relatively dry autumn and a mild winter, water levels are down again early in the year.

But there is a lot of water waste by residents as well.

City Manager Ed Collins said watering lawns during the day and using water to clean off concrete is wasteful.

"We're asking people to water every other day — people with odd house numbers on odd days and people with even house numbers on even days," Collins said.

Residents found using more water than allowed will receive a ticket. "We didn't ticket anybody last year," Collins said.

Barnes said the officials try to educate people first about how to water and use their systems properly. He said they'll give out a warning before they give out a ticket.

"We like to warn them first," Barnes said.

Collins said the city isn't running as low as last year when officials began rationing. The early start this year gives the city some breathing room.

He said last year the city waited too long to start rationing.

"I took the mayor to one of the water ponds (where the city stores its irrigation water) and asked him if he wanted to walk across," he said. "The water wasn't even up to the top of our shoes."

Barnes wasn't quite as optimistic. He thinks the water situation is as bad as it was last year.

But both agree the rationing came at the right time.

"We've go to cut back," Barnes said. He expects the limits to stay in place until the end of the watering season.

E-MAIL: rrogers@desnews.com