Wasatch mountain ski resorts had more snowfall than any other recorded year in history. Utah isn’t unique, the Sierras and Colorado’s Rocky Mountains got hammered too. Happily this translates into the end of the multi-year drought that’s been plaquing the West for several years, as lakes and reservoirs fill and rivers are running high-with several feeding into the Great Salt Lake. Now sail boats are back on our salty sea and rocks are getting covered up at Lake Powell. We can cross our fingers this is a trend for wet and not for dry! The local news educated us this past year when the Great Salt Lake got to its lowest point on record that most of the water use in Utah is for agriculture. Did you know our clover hay is considered almost equal to gold bullion overseas? Pricey feed!
We cannot relax our water use ever again in this state. Global warming is real and now we know that if the lake goes, we all will probably vanish, either by death of toxic air or by moving the hell out of Utah. So now we’re officially in summer and some people are sprinkling their lawns and landscaping helter skelter, wasting water every damn day. Utah Water Savers wants you to get paid to replace your grass with water-efficient landscaping knowing that the future of wet years may not be real. You can earn a cash incentive when you upgrade your thirsty lawns to water-wise plants, trees and shrubs. You could increase your curb appeal, decrease maintenance requirements and reduce water use and your water bill. These incentives are not just for residences but commercial, industrial and institutional properties as well that currently having living grass. If you are connected to a municipal water system and you’re not in arrears with your water bill, you can qualify if you do the prescribed landscape upgrades within 12 months from getting approved for the program. There are a few rules to qualify: 1) plant-coverage minimums and grass-covered maxims; 2) grass is prohibited on park strips, slopes, and in areas less than 8-feet wide. You can get $.50-$3.00 per square foot depending on where your water comes from (i.e. Weber Basin, Central Utah, Jordan Valley, etc.).
One of the best things you can do right now is a sprinkler performance test. You can get ‘catch cans’ from the USU Extension County Offices or use a can to collect sprinkler water to measure the depth of water in say, one hour of watering. In SL County it’s 0.5 inches for turfgrass. Right now you should be watering every three days, until September when it’s every six days. If you want to get paid to paid to replace your grass, contact www.utahwatersavers.org. The project minimum to qualify may vary depending on your water district, and you must be pre-approved for the program. The website gives you info to perform your own site inspection on water use.