As the City’s water experts monitor mountain snow pack in anticipation of spring run-off, Mayor Biskupski’s Stage 1 voluntary water shortage advisory, issued April 10th, will serve as a down payment for managing water supply on the coming summer’s not-so-rainy days.
The Stage 1 advisory is the first of five stages in the City’s Water Shortage Contingency Plan (or drought plan). The Department of Public Utilities’ storage reservoirs are each at least 80 percent full (Deer Creek is currently at 100 percent), streams that feed the City’s water service area are expected to flow well-below average over the next several weeks. Thus, the Stage 1 Advisory.
“We are a resilient City that plans ahead for any anticipated challenges for our residents,” said Mayor Biskupski. “The Stage 1 advisory makes sense when we consider the overall, very low snow pack this past winter. We live in a desert. Practicing water conservation always makes sense.”
Salt Lake City Public Utilities suggests residents consider the following recommendations:
- Sign up for a free water check to determine efficient watering levels
- Adjust sprinkler controllers to reflect the season and weather, including shutting off during rainstorms
- Check sprinkler systems for broken or misaligned spray heads
- Check indoor faucets and fixtures for leaks and repair promptly
- Take advantage of the City’s water-saving tips and landscape
- Follow our other tips for indoor and outdoor conservation.
The City’s Water Shortage Contingency Plan outlines five water shortage stages triggered by water supply levels, stream flows, and water demand: advisory; mild; moderate; severe and critical. The plan also recommends actions within each stage aimed at reducing water demand to levels that reflect current supply and future water needs.
Stage 1 Advisory
Stage 1 is intended to alert Public Utilities water customers as early as possible that a shortage may occur. The idea is that, given notice and a call to action, folks will do the right thing and take extra measures to eliminate water waste and reduce use. Why does this matter? Because this idea of early response is central to the effectiveness of our drought plan.
How much water we have for current and future use is critical to supply and service delivery. Reservoir levels and stream flow help to define the severity of a drought. Those water levels also help the City’s Public Utilities team understand how to ensure an adequate supply for the entire community. This is where informed consumers come in. It isn’t only supply that matters―it’s how much we use. In other words, demand matters.
During a sustained drought period from 2001 through 2004, Salt Lake City avoided stringent water restrictions despite what seemed like endless long, hot days because the community chose to step up and dramatically reduce water use. So now, as then, if we can keep demand lower than our available supply levels, we can avoid mandated restrictions.
The advisory comes against the backdrop of Earth Week (April 16 to 22), the annual, worldwide effort to spread conservation messaging and environmental awareness.
Contributed by Stephanie Duer, Salt Lake City Department of Public Utilities