Mayor Biskupski will initiate first stage of addressing potential water shortage: A call for Salt Lake City agencies, residents, and businesses to conserve

With snow levels and early spring run-off well below average this year, Mayor Jackie Biskupski will declare a Stage 1 Advisory for water conservation, in keeping with Salt Lake City’s 5-stage Water Shortage Contingency Plan.

While the current overall water supply is good due to strong reservoir levels, stream flow volume is projected to be well below average in all Wasatch Mountain streams that support Salt Lake City’s water service area. The low stream flow volumes are prompting the Stage 1 Advisory.

The Water Shortage Contingency Plan outlines five water shortage stages triggered by water supply levels, stream flows, and water demand; it also provides recommendations for actions within each stage aimed at reducing water demand to levels that reflect current supply and future water needs. 

The Mayor will act upon the recommendation of Salt Lake City Public Utilities Director Laura Briefer, who noted Stage 1 is voluntary and a public education measure. Public Utilities will also brief the Salt Lake City Council tonight on the status of water supplies and the Contingency Plan at their regular meeting.

“At Stage 1, our goal is to send a message that everyone can help us avoid potential shortages this season and in future drought years by simply being mindful about their water use,” Laura Briefer said. “We are asking residents, businesses, and City departments to implement simple and cost-effective measures to conserve water.”

City departments and divisions are stepping up to cut back on outdoor watering and to test equipment for maximum watering efficiency as temperatures rise.

By order of City Fire Marshall Ryan Mellor, firefighters this spring and summer will be conducting “dry” fire hydrant inspections only to assess proper working order, said Fire Department Public Information Officer Audra Sorensen. “Rather than opening up hydrants in this low-water year, we will inspect and lubricate hydrant caps, inspect their paint and check to make sure hydrants have proper clearance,” she said.

The City’s Department of Public Services will “actively monitor water use in managed parks and facilities,” said Corey Rushton, Communications and Administrative Services Director. “We want to encourage residents to report broken irrigation systems in city parks and grounds via the SLC Mobile app.”

In addition, Public Utilities is working with City golf course staffs and Utah State University to develop greater water efficiency plans. “We will be working this summer with Utah State University to test improved turf types that reduce water demand. Our findings should also help other property owners,” added Briefer.

The City is also asking residents to take a few simple actions to help with water conservation:

More information on the City’s Water Shortage Contingency Plan can be found here: http://www.slcdocs.com/utilities/PDF%20Files/11_Water%20Shortage%20Contingency%20Plan.pdf