Amid historic drought, this is how much water St. George saved

Stock image, St. George News

ST. GEORGE — The city of St. George managed to save 362 million gallons of water between June 1 and Sept. 30, according to a press release shared with St. George News.

File photo: St. George Mayor Michele Randall speaks at the Washington County Water Summit, St. George, Utah, Nov. 9, 2021 | Photo by Mori Kessler, St. George News

This is a significant feat, as Utah faced two major hurdles in water conservation. First, the state was in the midst of a historic drought. Second, Utah had one of the hottest summers in recent memory. During one stretch, St. George unofficially tied with the hottest day on record, climbing to 117 degrees last July.

If that wasn’t enough, the city also added more than 2,000 new service connections as the population continues to grow. All of that begs the question: How did they do it?

To begin with, the city made a push to encourage the community to conserve water back in April. Rene Fleming, city manager of energy and water customer service, urged the City Council to amplify a call to check for leaky faucets and toilets and avoid watering between the hours of 8 a.m. and 8 p.m.

“The more we use during peak hours, the more it will cost,” Fleming said in April.

File photo: Rene Fleming and City Manager Adam Lenhard discuss water and energy at the St. George City Council meeting in St. George, Utah, April 8, 2021 | Photo by David Dudley, St. George News

The press release also stated that the city’s secondary irrigation usage saved about 63 million gallons during the summer months, an overall decrease of 12.73% from the same period in 2020.

St. George Mayor Michele Randall thanked the city’s parks department, as well as the golf staff, for their hard work in cutting back on water usage.

“Some of these decisions were difficult to make and included cutting down on how often we irrigate as well as removing turf,” Randall said. “As a city, we are always going to look at our water use and see where we can do better.”

Randall and city of St. George staff also thanked St. George residents and business owners for working with the city to conserve “precious water resources.”

The numbers show that a significant amount of people — in the public and private sector — have made adjustments to cut back their water usage, said Scott Taylor, the city of St. George’s water services director.

File photo of Jimmie Hughes, Gregg McArthur, Mayor Michele Randall and Bryan Smethurst listening to a presentation on water and energy at the St. George City Council meeting in St. George, Utah, April 8, 2021 | Photo by David Dudley, St. George News

“It is wise to periodically take an audit of your water usage to see where you can conserve,” Taylor said. “Maybe your lawn could stand to be watered less. Maybe you can take shorter showers. Maybe it’s time to replace an old appliance with one that is more energy and water-efficient. There are so many ways we can conserve, and it’s exciting to see the progress we have made as a city.”

Randall applauded those who have stepped up to conserve water.

“This doesn’t mean our water challenges are over – we must stay on course,” she said. “However, it is a great first step in our efforts to help secure a bright water future in St. George.”

Copyright St. George News, LLC, 2021, all rights reserved.

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