We received an email from a customer with some thought-provoking questions. We’d like to share the answers with everyone.
Q. We hear that the snowpack was bad, but what about the water in the reservoirs? Isn’t there enough for several years of drought?
A. There are many water systems in the area, and the water systems in charge of the reservoirs are separate from WaterPro
We own many water rights, but our rights are limited by the amount of snowpack that falls the previous winter, and have nothing to do with the amount of water in the reservoirs. The past two winters have had scant snowfall, leading to a fairly severe drought.
We can purchase water from the water systems that operate the reservoirs, but this water is very expensive and the supply is limited. It costs us approximately three times as much to buy reservoir water as it does to use our own water. In drought years the boards that manage these reservoirs often decide to restrict the amount of water available for purchase, as is the case this year. So if we do purchase water it will be very expensive, and only a limited amount is available at any price.
Q. You’ve asked us to use less water, but periods of high heat cause stress and burn my lawn.
A. While high temperatures are hard on lawns, a healthy lawn with deep roots should be able to go through short periods of stress without harm. It is perfectly normal for a healthy lawn to show a bit of brown during the hot summer months; it will green up again when the weather turns cooler. If your lawn is showing serious stress so quickly, this is a sign that the roots are not deep enough, which occurs when grass is not watered properly. The best way to make sure you are watering wisely is to schedule a free water check at slowtheflow.org.
Q. Why is Draper continuing to issue new building permits when there is not enough water to accommodate these new homes?
A. WaterPro is a private mutual water company and is not a part of Draper City; we have no connection to its planning and zoning department and we do not issue building permits. If you visit the Draper City website (www.draper.ut.us) you can find more information on contacting the people who can answer this question for you.
Q. Why should current residents be penalized because new residents need to tap into resources that are clearly not abundant enough? New residents should be responsible for this additional cost.
A. Increasing the number of customers increases the need for infrastructure such as water mains, storage tanks, additional capacity for water treatment, etc. For this reason, we (and every other water system) charge new residents an impact fee of several thousand dollars to offset the additional expense. The amount we can charge for an impact fee is regulated by the legislature; it is illegal for us to impose fees solely to stop growth.
Q. What happens when there is a time in the future with several years of drought? When that happens the situation will be much more significant than reducing our current usage a few percentage points.
A. We heartily wish we had an answer to this concern. As the population increases, pressure on water supplies increases not just in Draper, not just in Utah, but worldwide. The most crucial use of water is for drinking and sanitation, yet most water is used (and much of it is wasted) on non-essential outdoor use such as watering lawns and other landscaping that is not suited to our desert climate. Our current wasteful water habits will indeed create a real problem, so WaterPro and other water systems continually urge our customers to rethink their habits. A few percentage points may not seem like much, but if everyone pitches in, that can make all the difference.