Utah water experts say it's OK to water your lawn this week, but where you live dictates how many times you should.
The Utah Division of Water Resources updated its weekly lawn watering guide Friday to add every part of Utah for the first time this year. The agency recommends residents in northern and most of central Utah should only irrigate once during the week, while parts of central and eastern Utah could use two irrigations and residents across southeastern and southwestern Utah could use three.
Shelby Ericksen, the division's conservation coordinator, explained Monday that the weekly guide is based on "extensive data" that takes into account weather patterns and evapotranspiration rates that are put into watering recommendations. The change in recommendations comes after Salt Lake City and some other Wasatch Front cities surpassed 80 degrees for the first time this weekend, while St. George reached 100 degrees on Sunday.
"Especially in the springtime, the guidelines vary weekly depending on what Mother Nature has in store, so we encourage people to check each week and make adjustments as needed," Erickson said, in a statement. "Now is also a great time to test sprinkler systems and make repairs to ensure they are working efficiently."
There are some storms in northern Utah’s forecast Monday, according to the National Weather Service; however, they aren't expected to provide a ton of rain, if any. The National Weather Service also warns there is potential for dry microbursts associated with a pattern moving across the state Monday. The weak system isn't expected to drop temperatures much.
KSL meteorologist Matt Johnson said there's another spring storm in the forecast which can be connected to Wifi to receive local weather data. A programmable controller can also be set to deliver the number of waterings recommended in a county for a certain week. Otherwise, it's recommended that people who manually water their lawns follow the weekly guide.
State water experts say any amount of rain decreases the number of times people should water.
Meanwhile, Erickson recommends that homeowners use a smart irrigation controller, which can be connected to Wi-Fi to receive local weather data. A programmable controller can also be set to deliver the number of waterings recommended in a county for a certain week. Otherwise, it's recommended that people who manually water their lawns follow the weekly guide.
About 48.25% of Utah is currently listed in extreme drought, according to the U.S. Drought Monitor. That's up nearly five percentage points from the previous week. Nearly all of the state is listed in at least severe drought conditions.
"Because Utah is one of the driest states in the country, it's important that we use water efficiently," Ericksen said. "The average yard uses about 3,000 gallons of water for each watering, so eliminating one watering yields significant savings. Proper watering also helps avoid problems with pests and disease and reduces costs associated with overwatering, saving time and money."
Full seven-day forecasts for areas across Utah can be found online, at the KSL Weather Center.