This summer’s algal bloom in Utah Lake has served as a wake-up call showing how our water supply is at the mercy of Mother Nature and our own consumption habits. There are several valuable lessons we can learn from the situation, but the most important is that conservation is an absolutely essential part of our water use patterns.
The water level in Utah Lake is tremendously low, mostly because we are now in the fifth year of a drought. Low water levels combined with a very hot summer led to uncontrolled algae blooms in the water. Although such blooms are natural, they can sometimes create toxins that make the water unusable for farming and irrigation.
By mid to late summer, WaterPro’s pressure irrigation (PI) water comes almost exclusively from Utah Lake. This led to two concerns about our PI water:
- Toxins in the water might poison garden produce
- Our water supply might be cut off
Fortunately, testing by the state Department of Environmental Quality showed no harmful toxins in the water due to the algal bloom.
Garden produce irrigated with PI water is NOT contaminated.
However, because of continuing low water levels, our PI season will be cut short this year.
Our water supply is limited and vulnerable
WaterPro is one of many organizations that hold water rights in Utah Lake. These water rights are governed by an agreement that details who gets water, and how much.
At this point, we are not sure exactly how much longer we can supply irrigation water. We hope to be able to supply water until October 1, but that depends on weather and our ability to find additional water to lease. If the weather this month is hot and windy, or if we are unable to find additional water, the season may end sooner.
We use too much water
Utahns love our green lawns – and there’s nothing wrong with that. The problem is that we keep them green with outdated watering practices that waste water. It’s possible to have a beautiful lawn using up to 50% less water than you might currently be using.
WaterPro is encouraging conservation by introducing water meters on our PI connections. Our PI users historically paid a flat fee based on the size of their lots, but this led to overuse and waste. Billing by use is fairer to all our customers.
Below you’ll find a number of free ways to cut back on the amount of water you use outdoors without cutting back on the quality of your landscape.