Waste not, want not

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    By Kendra Smith

    Water shouldn”t be scarce in Utah County this summer if citizens don”t waste it, officials said.

    Contrary to what Utahns may believe, a “drought in Utah” may not mean drought in Utah County.

    “American Fork City is in fairly good shape water wise,” said Carl Wanlass, American Fork”s city administrator. “However, there still needs to be some conservation efforts taken.”

    City officials from Provo, Orem and Highland agreed when it comes to their city”s conditions.

    The wells, springs and creeks that supply water to Utah County should hold up as long as citizens use water responsibly.

    The “drought” hasn”t changed anything.

    Rainstorms for the past couple of weeks haven”t helped the water collection situation, Wanlass said, but the storm stopped people from watering their lawns.

    So far, citizens haven”t depleted much of the reserves by watering, but with the summer coming, water conservation is still an issue in the county — it”s still Utah.

    Utah County cities have plans to help their citizens conserve.

    Laws don”t really play a part in the conservation efforts because Utah County”s citizens tend to comply with the request of the city officials: to cut down on how much water used and when it”s used.

    American Fork did enforce a law last year, prohibiting watering lawns during the day; however, the council took out the law this year and replaced it with higher water rates instead, Wanlass said.

    According to Wanlass, the hope is that people will use less water because it costs more.

    No laws have been enforced in Orem, Highland or Provo.

    “Provo is a very unique place,” said Bart Simons, water sources manager for Provo. “When you ask for help, the citizenry usually comes forward with that help.”

    Laws simply aren”t necessary.

    Orem City, like other Utah County cities, utilizes an education program on water conservation for their citizens.

    They pass out fliers and make demonstrations to neighborhoods on how to be more efficient with their water.

    And it works, said Bruce Chesnut, public works director. Every year the city campaigns for water conservation, and every year the citizens respond by using less water.

    But even the help from the citizens won”t be enough to ensure an ample water supply.

    Cities have been researching and planning for alternative ways to save or get more water.

    American Fork Cemetery, for instance, has become an experimental ground for water conservation.

    Officials want to discover what times of the day are best to water to get the most moisture on the ground by watering at various ties of the day and night.

    The middle of the night is not necessarily the best time to water, Wanlass said. The results from the cemetery experiment should help conservation.

    Provo city officials are considering utilizing reclaimed water to supplement their water supply.

    Reclaimed water is any water that has already gone through the waste-water treatment process – so it”s not for drinking – but it is perfectly safe to use for irrigation.

    According to the Associated Press, in 1995 Santaquin became the first city in the county to reuse water for commercial watering, and now stores 400,000 gallons of sewer water a day, which they then use to water the city”s alfalfa fields.

    Drinking water and reclaimed water need to be separated to keep everything sanitary. However, the process can get complicated.

    Provo officials haven”t decided to use reclaimed water, yet, but Simons said the citizens shouldn”t mind using it.

    He said he welcomes the idea of reclaiming Provo”s water if it can be done.

    “Any time you can reuse water it”s a good idea if everything falls in place,” he said.

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