With Park City in the grip of a drought, city administrators are asking residents to conserve water by limiting when they irrigate their lawns and complying with time-of-day watering restrictions, among other measures.
These measures have made a difference.
“I think the people of Park City are doing a great job of conserving water,” said Jason Christensen, water resources manager. “We have seen reductions in customer usage in 2021, and so far in 2022 we are seeing somewhat larger reductions in usage this year throughout our July 1 billing period.”
The city has also done well over the long term. The average Park City single-family home now uses half the water it did in 2000, while multi-family units and irrigation accounts have seen similar declines, Christensen said.
Commercial properties are using the same amount of water as in 2000, but many of those businesses are serving more people than 22 years ago, driving up their usage, he said.
The average amount of water used daily by Park City residents varies throughout the year. The peak day so far this year was 7.04 million gallons on July 13.
The water utility, which serves customers within the Park City limits, can produce up to 11.58 million gallons per day.
“There’s a distinct reduction that’s happening compared to what we expect to see under conditions like these compared to what we actually see in production,” Christensen said. “People react to drought messages.”
To encourage conservation, the Park City Water Department has a rate structure that charges more per unit of water as usage increases.
Most residential irrigation systems use about 1,000 gallons per hour to water grass, Christensen said. He said about 60 to 70 percent of the water produced by the department in the summer is for outdoor irrigation.
Watering restrictions are another conservation tool. Under city code, outdoor watering is prohibited between 10:01 a.m. and 6:59 p.m. from May 1 through September 30.
People who live or work at an even address can water on even days between 7 p.m. and 10 a.m. and those who live or work at an odd address can water during this period on odd days. Customers who can water even less frequently can email [email protected] to register for watering every three days and to be exempt from the even-odd restriction.
Watering of impervious surfaces is prohibited if water leaves the property and enters gutters or storm drains.
The city also encourages voluntary xeriscaping, which is landscaping with plants native to the area or from a similar climate and that require little or no watering.
“That doesn’t mean you should go out and burn your front yard,” Christensen said. “But when looking to landscape your property, you should look for plants that don’t need a lot of extra irrigation but can still beautify your garden.”
Websites with information on how to reduce water use and bills can be found at parkcity.watersmart.com, utahwatersavers.com, and conservewater.utah.gov.