Water deficit expected; district takes counteractive measures

ST. GEORGE – Washington County Water Conservancy District executives have made several recent operational changes to counteract an anticipated water deficit. The need arises due to insufficient snow levels in the state’s mountain regions.

According to the Natural Resources Conservation Service – an organization established by Congress in 1935 to serve as a conservation leader for all natural resources including water – snowpack levels are down an average of 21 percent throughout Utah. Areas that supply water to the Virgin River are down 25 percent.

“Fortunately we’ve taken proactive measures to mitigate potential consequences of annual snow shortfalls, but one can never be too prepared,” the District’s general manager, Ron Thompson, said.

Effective immediately, WCWCD has stopped releases from Kolob reservoir to the Sand Hollow and Quail Creek reservoirs.  Sand Hollow, which holds 16.3 billion gallons, is currently at 80 percent capacity while Quail Creek, which holds 13 billion gallons, is at 60 percent capacity.  It’s unlikely either reservoir will fill to capacity this year, according to Thompson.

“These reservoirs sustain life, literally,” Thompson said.  “Their primary function is to provide the essential water supply we need, but there are other social, recreational, environmental and aesthetic benefits – all of which contribute to our local economy and quality of life.”

County residents are encouraged to comply with city watering ordinances and other conservation initiatives to alleviate water needs given current shortages.

Submitted by the Washington County Water Conservancy District.

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  • ken March 4, 2013 at 5:05 pm

    Interesting that Mr Thompson wants to shove a a billion or more pipeline down our throats, yet has no answer on how the dwindling Colorado River would actually give us more water. Sadly the word conservation means NOTHING around these parts. Drive around any day and you can see serious watsing of water. The school district is a big example during midday in the summer athletic fields are guzzling thousands of water daily. Count the number of sprinklers watering concrete and asphalt. The city could also take the lead as they like to water the street just drive by the city cemetary.

  • L Scott Larsen March 4, 2013 at 5:27 pm

    It looks like we need to put in some more reservoirs, to hold that snow fall that we do get. I know that people down stream need water too, but the longer we hold it up here the more water we’ll all have because it does not evaporate as fast in the cooler climate. Send it down there just to evaporate I don’t know? I’d rather the $5,000.00 that they charged me on building permit for Lake Powell pipe line to go for building a new reservoir, then we can use that reservoir for recreation and drinking water, and wont have to drive to lake Powell or build a pipe line and drain Powell.

  • Sally March 4, 2013 at 5:39 pm

    If the restaurants here would serve water only on request, it would save a LOT of water- not to mention it would save the owners money on the water bill and not having to make/buy ice. It goes to their bottom line (better profits are always good). We live in the desert where we need to conserve. Serving water automatically is an old habit that needs to be broken. If people want water with their meal, great, give it to them. But many people order soft drinks or coffee and never touch their water. We ask the restaurants not to bring us water, as we drink other things with our meals. I’ve talked to a couple of restaurants that are doing this already- kudos to them!!

  • Roy J March 4, 2013 at 6:55 pm

    You’re right about that, ken! There’s alot of city maintenance out beautifying the flowerbeds and islands right now, hopefully they will fix those sprinklers as well. If the city is already asking for citizen’s to comply with watering ordinances, that is…

  • Belgar March 4, 2013 at 11:17 pm

    Found on an earlier article published right her on this site:

    “But these residents may not understand that commercial properties are exempt from certain water requirements, said René Fleming, Conservation Coordinator for the City of St. George. This is due to the fact that schools, parks, golf courses and cemeteries run on irrigation quality water (as opposed to drinking quality water in homes). The local irrigation system lacks the storage and production capabilites of the residential system, forcing these facilities to water whenever possible and often during the middle of the day. However, homeowners are strongly advised to water between 8 p.m. and 8 a.m.”

  • BJ March 5, 2013 at 9:49 am

    I have lived here less than a year and it amazes me the amount of water wasted on watering lawns, golf courses and athletic fields–this is the desert you know and that type of grass is not natural. Water is water, no matter if it is “irrigation” quality or not. This is a typical American issue–do something that makes no sense, then look for solutions that don’t address the real problem, while ignoring the stupidity that caused the issue.

  • Bender March 5, 2013 at 12:35 pm

    Sally do you have any idea of the difference in use between the culinary water served in restaurants and the total culinary water use? Contrast a grain of sand to a whole beach and you’re in the ball park. Fretting about water served in restaurants may make you feel better but it’s nothing but window dressing. We don’t have a water shortage here. What we have is water priced so inexpensively that there is little, or no, incentive to conserve. If you want to channel your water saving angst into something useful, elect some county commissioners who will appoint a board of directors at Washington County Water Conservancy District (WCWCD) who are not ranchers/bankers/developers. An enlightened WCWCD board would remove WCWCD’s property tax levy and force all district funding to come from water sales. This would lower your property and tax and raise water rates. Higher water rates are the only real incentive to conserve water. We are all subsidizing water development to feed the local growth machine so that a select few can keep houseboats on Lake Powell, cabins at Kolob and a garage full of motorized toys.

  • Gunther March 5, 2013 at 1:06 pm

    If this area really promoted conserving water the way we should be doing here in the desert, there would not be a need for a Lake Powell pipeline. That’s why we see such a waste of water and blatant over-watering at times. It’s similar to a government spending budget, the more they spend the more they need. Same with the water, continue to over-water everything so it will help show the need for more water.

  • Bender March 5, 2013 at 1:41 pm

    Gunther you crazy hamster. It ain’t about “promotion”, it’s all about the money. If hotdogs are ten for a dollar at 7-11, you and I will stuff our faces — there will be no hotdog conservation happening. We live in the 2nd driest state and have some of the cheapest water rates in the country. When water is priced at its actual cost then we will all conserve. The city and the water conservancy district both have water conservation officers who promote water conservation, but I guarantee you they are only there as window dressing. The only thing that matters to the guys in the big chairs calling the shots is how can we keep the development ball rolling.

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