St. George implements drought management water restrictions

ST. GEORGE – The St. George City Council, by unanimous vote, initiated Stage I of its drought management plan, which places a mandatory restriction on the hours residents can water their lawns and gardens.

René Fleming, the city’s water conservation coordinator, asked the city council to initiate “Stage I” of the city’s drought management plan due to a water deficit triggered by a dry winter: “We’ve had a low-water year,” she said.

According to information released by the Washington County Water Conservancy District in March, annual snow pack was down 21 percent across the state. Areas that supply the Virgin River were down 25 percent.  The Sand Hollow and Quail Creek Reservoirs have also been recorded at 80 and 60 percent capacity, respectively. Neither reservoir is expected to reach full capacity this year.

Restrictions associated with Stage I of the drought management plan are voluntary, with the exception of the mandatory cap on watering lawns and gardens between 8 a.m. and 8 p.m. Fleming said the most water is lost during the hot days due to evaporation.  The best time to water is in the early morning, preferably before 4 a.m.

If a resident is found watering their lawn during the restricted hours, the individual will not be fined, Fleming said, but the resident will be provided ways in which to best conserve water.

“We’d rather educate than penalize,” Fleming said.

The city council voted unanimously to implement the Stage I restrictions, effective today. Thus far, notices have been given over media, social media and will be included in upcoming utility bills.

“Most people will comply,” Fleming said.

The stage I water restrictions primarily deal with culinary water use, she said, and that the restrictions affect all of the city’s costumers, be they residential or commercial-based.

Places like Dixie State University and city golf courses don’t use culinary water, she said, but rather use  irrigation water for watering needs. Irrigation water is different from culinary water in that it usually has a much higher content of dissolved minerals and doesn’t meet state and federal standards for drinking water.

Fleming indicated irrigation water will still be allowed to be used to an extent during the restricted hours placed on culinary water use.

Tips on how to scale back culinary water use indoors and outdoors starts on page two of the city’s drought management plan.

Future notifications on water restrictions, as well as tips on how to conserve water, can be found on the City of St. George Water Services Department Facebook page.

The City of St. George Water Services Department can also be contacted at 435-674-4213.

Ed. Note: This story was updated June 8, 2013.

Email: [email protected]

Twitter: @MoriKessler

Copyright St. George News, LLC, 2013, all rights reserved.


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  • Karen Hall June 7, 2013 at 4:27 pm

    Let us collect rain water. It isn’t that much anyway but at least we could be helping conserve.

    • Tyler June 7, 2013 at 6:31 pm

      …What rain water? Could be weeks or months til it rains again Lol

  • Mojave Joe June 7, 2013 at 6:35 pm

    Enough is enough when it comes this desert city, let me emphasize DESERT city, “appearing” to mandate conservation. St, George, like any other desert city, needs to impose fines for not only watering during daytime hours, but also having too high of a percentage of greenery!

    • Albert June 8, 2013 at 8:07 am

      should apply to the damn golf courses as well – why are there two dozen of ’em anyway, save to bait retirees and home builders?

    • Snowfield June 8, 2013 at 9:10 am

      One water official once explained why that can’t be done this way: other desert cities like Tuscon have a Mexican based culture that accepts xeriscaping, but St. George is a European culture which has an inborn need for English style lush gardens. In other words,, mandating drought tolerant landscaping would go against the spiritual needs of white people (in his opinion.) I think it was Ron Thompson who offered up that gem but I’d need to go back and find the article where he said it to say for sure..

  • Chad June 8, 2013 at 9:15 am

    Makes sense. When is the city going to do something about the water rushing down the curb on Main Street between Ancestor Square and Urban Renewal? It’s been running so long that there is algae built up all along the curb from one end to the other

  • Jeckyll June 8, 2013 at 9:50 am

    I have nothing positive to contribute to this article. So, um….blame the city?

  • DoubleTap June 8, 2013 at 11:25 am

    Will these lawn and gardening watering “restrictions ALSO apply to ALL City golf courses, schools, parks, cemeteries, churches and city buildings as well?? I see a lot of city streets and sidewalks as well getting watered during the day (hours BETWEEN 8 am and 8 pm). This ought to be interesting….

  • Dan Lester June 8, 2013 at 3:20 pm

    SunRiver, where I live, has a golf course. However, about half of the homes, mine are included, are xeriscaped. It is up to the buyer as to which way to go. As one who grew up in Phoenix when it was a decent place to live, I love the desert and don’t need to waste water on green stuff. We have some desert plants (yucca, palm, etc) that get minimal drip irrigation. And a water bill MUCH lower than our neighbors who have all the green.

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