Over this past year, Provo saved 700 million gallons of water as the city focused on increased conservation efforts to combat the ongoing drought.
Provo saved enough water in the last year to fill “1,060 Olympic-sized swimming pools,” according to a post made by Mayor Michelle Kaufusi earlier this month.
“When you hear from the governor that our state is in such bad shape and we’re going through these droughts year after year, I think that really helps people understand the severity,” Provo City Water Sources Manager Ryan York said.
According to Provo Public Works Director Dave Decker, Mayor Kaufusi did not want to mandate water conservation unlike other agencies in Utah and, in many cases, Provo did better than the agencies that required water conservation.
The increased conservation efforts spearheaded by Governor Cox and Mayor Kaufusi included incentivizing planting trees in the city to reduce water consumption.
Provo has collaborated with NatureShade to focus on how to plant more trees.
“If you think about it, a shade tree, particularly if it’s shading broad areas of the yard, they can reduce water needs even on sod and turf,” Decker said.
Over 50% of Utah Lake’s annual inflow is lost due to evaporation each year. The evaporation of this water reduces how much water can be stored for future use in Provo.
The city’s commitment to storing water in the ground is critical to preserving water for future use, especially during years with lots of snow and precipitation, according to Decker.
“We’re doing programs to get that water stored in the ground and stored for long-term purposes,” Decker said.
Water saved in the ground can last for five to seven years or longer, whereas water stored in the reservoirs only lasts for about two years, according to Decker.
In addition to the increase in trees being planted, Mayor Kaufusi and the city of Provo are focused on decreasing the amount of water used on lawns across the city.
Watering lawns less frequently and not during the hottest part of the day are important factors in maximizing the use of water consumption for lawns.
“I think a lot of people recognized over the last couple years that lawns can go more than a day without water,” York said.
The most important aspect of water conservation in Provo and other cities across the state is the ability to store the water for future use when there is less runoff from snow and precipitation, according to Decker.
“The biggest benefit of water is just storing or saving water for the future,” York said.
As Provo continues to conserve water, they are dedicated to battling the water difficulties that come from the continued drought within the state, according to Mayor Kaufusi.